In my Scrum training classes, I always talk about disruption. I talk about organisations being disrupted by their competitors. This may occur due to changes in technology and customer behaviour. For many of my clients, this was the biggest risk they faced. It was something they were keen to address by becoming Agile.
Recent world events have shown that disruption comes in many other forms. The Coronavirus/COVID-19 epidemic has disrupted life for billions of people. As I write this, in the UK we are in lockdown and not allowed to leave our homes except for essential travel. I am still amazed that this turn of events could ever be possible.
The current crisis will drive the global economy into the biggest recession we have ever experienced. With businesses forced to close and many others struggling to survive, governments have been forced to offer unprecedented support packages to businesses and individuals. The short term cost will be huge. Those that survive will be saddled with debt that will take a generation to repay. There is little other choice in the current situation. Taxes and unemployment will rise. Retirement will be delayed for many. In the UK, Austerity will return (with a new name). The world will never be the same again.
But from these dark times, comes hope and possibility. Challenging conditions trigger evolution and adaptation. Survival of the fittest is not just limited to the natural world. Individuals and organisations who survive the current crisis will adapt and bounce back stronger.
Business models will change and improve. We will find new ways to deliver value. New organisations will emerge from the ashes of the old, with products and services designed for our new post Coronavirus reality.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
As a Professional Scrum Trainer, I have spent the last 10 years working face to face helping people to learn and use Scrum. Recent events have disrupted my work. Organisations have delayed or cancelled all training. It is currently impossible to work in person. So I have done what I have long advised our clients to do and adapted.
In less than a week I was able to adapt my classes to run live & online. I was able to run my first online class during the first week of lockdown. In the weeks that followed I have run further classes with more to follow in the coming weeks.
The feedback from so far has been that the classes are excellent. They always are normally, so I was relieved to hear the same from the new live & online format. Pass rates from the post-course assessment have been the same as my in-person classes, which is a further positive indicator on the level of learning.
Despite the constraints created by the new format, there are also opportunities created. The technology available to enable live & online learning is amazing! Zoom(.us) allows groups to work together in a way that gets people a close as possible, even while being great distances apart. Mural(.co) involves and unleashes people to collaborate and create learning materials in ways that would be less possible in an in-person class.
The constraints forced me to up my game as a Trainer. I had to think even more carefully than usual about what to say. I had to keep teaching blocks and instructions extra clear and concise. I had to pause more frequently for questions and find new ways to ensure the group were following and understanding the materials. I had to pay extra attention to the energy levels of those taking part. I used Scrum to do all of this.
Each half-day section of the class was run as a Scrum Sprint. At the start of each section, we planned what we would learn together (Sprint Planning). We regularly revisited and adapted the plan during each section (Daily Scrum). At the end of each section, we reviewed what we had covered (Sprint Review) and collaborated on ways to improve the next section (Sprint Retrospective). As a group, we learnt Scrum, while using Scrum. Wonderful!
Many trainers say that online training does not offer the same high-quality experience as an in-person class. A large part of the industry has ignored online training for years, despite customers calling for it in order to lower their costs and eliminate travel time.
Udemy, Skillshare and other providers have emerged to fill this gap with video training courses that people can purchase and consume on at their own pace. The quality of the classes offered on these platforms varies widely. Some are very good, but the completion rate for most courses is low. They offer a cheaper, but perhaps less effective alternative to face to face training where people collaborate and learn together. Learning together is often crucial to successful learning.
I believe the future has arrived early and is here to stay. In order to survive and to continue to deliver value, trainers have been forced to adapt and offer live & online training. Trainers now have to learn how to enable effective learning via this new medium. I for one relish the challenge!
Despite these disrupted times – Keep busy, keep learning, keep adapting and create value! If you would like to learn Scrum, we are offering our full range of courses live & online. We also offer all classes in private. Get in touch!
The Scrum Master is Simon Kneafsey. Simon is a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org, the home of Scrum run by Scrum co-creator, Ken Schwaber. Simon offers Professional Scrum Certification training courses globally and works with clients to introduce Scrum to their organisations.
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