What Are These Companies Looking For? – Interview with Tobias Mayer

Tobias Mayer, keynote speaker of Scrum Day San Diego, shares in an email interview on why he is participating in Scrum Day San Diego and shares his thoughts on what you might expect from his keynote address on June 13th.  Register now for a full day of speakers, including Tobias, on June 13th!

  1. Why are you participating in Scrum Day San Diego? The organizer, Carlton Nettleton, and I have collaborated over the years, exploring ways of working and sharing ideas.  When Carlton requested my participation in this event I was happy to accept.  I like small, local Scrum events, where the focus is on the working community, where people know and support one another and there exists a desire for all to improve — where the focus is on collaboration over competition.
  2. Tell us a little about the ideas behind your keynote, “The Scrum Sacrifice”. In the ten years I’ve worked as a Scrum facilitator and coach I have seen many failures.  However, what is interesting is that what I may perceive as a failure the organization may see as a success (e.g. it’s better than it was before).  I’ve also seen successes (in mindset shift and behavior) that organizations perceive as failure (e.g. people have stopped complying, and now it’s worse than it was before).  This gets me thinking about the nature of success and failure — and has me asking, “What are these companies actually looking for?” — and what are we as coaches actually offering them.  If these align, is that always a good thing, or are we as coaches sacrificing Agile principles to appease Big Business?  I like to explore the positive power of misalignment, and ask how we can reconceive rather than compromise.
  3. What sort of impact are you hoping to make with this talk? Introspection 🙂
  4. What is your definition of success for this keynote address? Well, given the enquiry of this talk is on the nature of success and failure, maybe my criteria for success may be someone else’s criteria for failure (!) I’d like to be articulate, to speak from my heart, to speak of my experiences and my beliefs with honesty and integrity.  I’d like to prompt rather than preach.  I’d like to offer ideas rather than solutions.  If I can do all that, I will call it successful.  I have little (if any) control over how others may hear my words.
  5. What do you see as the biggest challenge ahead for the continued adoption of Scrum? Same as it’s always been.  Top-down efforts described as “roll outs”.  And tool adoption ahead of understanding.
  6. What has you hopeful for the future of Scrum? The very human desire to make a difference in the world, and the many forums this community has to explore and hone this desire into action.  Online forums are very helpful, but in-person events like this one have extraordinary power to change the world.  We may not always see it in the moment, but we carry the spirit of community and passion back to our places of work, and person by person the world of business becomes a healthier place.
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