Being a part of the Tuna Team, I was fortunate enough to get an exclusive opportunity for someone my age. I attended a CSM or Certified ScrumMaster course for a single day with our sister company, 3Back. This was a very unique experience for me, especially since I had never participated in an event of the sort.
My expedition through the Scrum world all started when I walked through the doors of a hotel near O’Hare airport around 8:45am. The class would start around nine, but I got there early just in case. Looking around, I saw many different people who all seemed to be different forms of IT Einsteins. Intimidated by the initial glance, I took a modest seat in the back of the class.
Turns out, I really had nothing to fear. Everyone was very friendly and were more than happy to chat with me about their profession or other work related things. I was even able to talk to a fellow student in Mandarin.
Before we go any further, if you don’t know what a CSM course is, click here for further information proudly presented by 3Back.
When the time for class drew near, the atmosphere changed to one of more focus. The instructor seemed to notice the shift, and stood up to begin the lecture. Without further ado, we dove straight into the material. For someone fairly new to an upfront way to learn Scrum, it was fascinating. The course focused on learning Scrum directly, by using collaboration as a gateway to understanding the fundamentals. For the instructor, one-on-one debates between classmates was a primary tool to help students learn how to be a CSM.
Surprisingly, the day almost felt like a philosophy class above everything else. Although Scrum is a core principle of how a team should function, it appeared as if it was built from common philosophies seen in the workforce, agile industry, and even in everyday life. By observing this, it gave me an understanding of how Scrum is organic, as well as innovative.
By the time my head was agilely scrambled by all the new concepts I was taking in, it was time for a lunchbreak. During this time, I had another opportunity to talk to my fellow students. However, the most important thing this lunch break gave me was the ability to reflect and digest what all I had learned. As the few hours spent in that class, I had realized that I was only scraping the tip of the iceberg. Scrum was a concept deeper than I could imagine, and I had a long way to go until I understood the fundamentals.
After lunch, the instructor shifted the class focus to more activities that incorporated real life situations. Watching the students go at each activity, it was amazing to see how Scrum worked as a universal tool too accomplish tasks. By using Scrum, rather than just raw intellectual muscle, the student’s groups each began to fly through material while at the same time completing their work correctly. Right as each team showed solid improvement, the instructor began to increase the difficulty of the activities. The teams began to struggle again to find pedantic accuracy in their goals. This was another way that Scrum left me dumbfounded. It seemed as though no matter how much each team improved, there was always another layer of difficulty that hindered efficient success.
At this point, the gears in my head were turning at maximum speed. Watching the instructor push the students to the limits of their Scrum ability made me begin to philosophize about how these ‘layers’ of Scrum difficulty work. The process reminded me of my grueling fitness sessions during the soccer season. When you first do a new fitness session, it wears you down easily. However, after doing it around the third or fourth time, it becomes easy. When the session becomes easy, you increase the difficulty by doing things such as adding more weight to a resistance machine, or lowering the maximum time for a 120 meter sprint. Then the cycle starts all over. This same process can be translated to what I found most intriguing in the course that day. Instead of the struggle being physical, Scrum challenges the mind, which in many aspects is much harder to master. After connecting my life to Scrum, and spending that day observing, I felt as though I had acquired a better understanding of what it took to be a Scrum Master. Through agilely scrambling my mind, I had agilely enlightened myself.
As the course was winding down to close at around 4:00pm, the instructor began to finish with some final thoughts and Q&A. Throughout the class, he had amazed me with his experience and brilliance in such a hard field. He was a prime example of what it takes to be a true Master of all things Scrum, and especially an example of what Tuna Traffic strives for in our working process.
Shortly after, the class ended and everyone began to pack up and leave. I said goodbye to the people I met and wished them the best in their future work as they did the same for me.
When everyone left, I walked up the the instructor. “That was a really good lecture. Thank you for letting me sit in and learn more about Scrum,” I said, all the while shaking his hand, “The whole class was intellectually challenging, and I feel like I learned a lot. I have a story now to share at Tuna Traffic.”
The instructor then grew a big smile and gave me a hug. “Your welcome, thanks for listening in. Now, what would you like for dinner? I’m up for anything.”
I hugged him back, “You’re welcome, Dad…I think Mexican food sounds good.”
“Mexican food it is then!” he replied, and we walked out of the room together in search of a tasty meal.