This is the second part of the article Playing golf and Scrum. Part one can be found here Playing golf and Scrum – Part I
Focus on the goal instead of obstacles
Probably you have seen or you can imagine that on the golf course, there are some obstacles like water, bushes or sand bunkers. You need to avoid or conquer them on the way to the hole. And quite often the player focuses so much on not aiming at the obstacle that finally he sends the ball exactly to where it shouldn’t be.
The root cause of this lies in the following principle: The brain does not interpret the word “no”. If you read now “Do not imagine the big green ogre”, I am quite sure that a picture of the ogre just blinked in your mind. You need to create a representation of what not to do and then you need to cross it with some kind of red line and make it disappear.
The fact is, that even beginners in golf can send a ball for at least eighty meters with ease. The water obstacle is fifty meters in front of him or her, so he or she has at least thirty meters of error margin. The only thing you need to do is to focus on the hole, do the perfect move that you practiced so many times and the ball will go over the obstacle. But what really happens the player focuses on the water obstacle and the ball tends to land in the obstacle. Let’s look at how this principle also appears in Scrum.
A colleague from my team started playing golf lately. Totally unexpectedly for me, I found out that these days equipment is not expensive any more and you do not need to be a club member. Since playing golf alone is not as much fun as playing together and having some competition, my colleague persuaded me to give it a try. Surprise, surprise; hitting the ball wasn’t that easy as you could imagine. You take a stick a.k.a. club, take your position and hit the ball with it. Club, ball, swing and … missed. Why? Because you need to practice the basics first. And playing golf is not about hitting the ball. Playing golf is about perfecting your movements and hitting the ball is just a side effect. Isn’t it the same with practicing Scrum? It seems to be easy and the Scrum Guide has only little over twenty pages.
Still trying golf was a lot of fun and I liked getting out of my comfort zone, so I decided to take the basic training. What surprised me the most where the two remarks from one of the professional trainers. Let me share with you these two universal tips.
2 universal tips that you can use in Scrum
- Do not focus on the ball. Focus on the swing. The ball is only an indicator showing you how you have hit the ball.
- If you would not see and focus on the water obstacle, you would send the ball further than that.
Let’s say that somebody found out that his or her organization has to change the way it works. It can be the way of organizing the teams, the way of making products, the way of marketing the products to better position them on the market, to be more attractive compared to competitors, to deliver more often, to better satisfy customers, etc. You can be a member of one of the teams, you can be the manager whose career depends on the change, and finally you can be the consultant who is hired to help to embrace the change. Somebody made the decision, people have gotten their training, managers are supportive, there is a budget secured and tools are bought. But nothing has changed. Why?