In my latest Scrum for Writers post, I write about continually improving my writing process with the Sprint Retrospective.
Using Scrum for writing fiction means reviewing the work every Sprint and adapting my story plan. Here’s how I do it.
It’s not easy to see how all the pieces fit together when using Scrum for writing. This week, I pause my exploration of the mechanics of Scrum to elaborate on how the Goals and Backlogs can be made visible in “Using a Scrum Board for Writers.”
I continue to explore using Scrum for writing fiction.
Crafting a Product Goal will help keep you focused throughout the duration of creating your work.
Once you have a Product Goal, you can use it to develop your initial Product Backlog.
Coming soon: Sprint Review and Sprint Retrsopective!
For the past year or so, I’ve been using the principles and practices of Scrum to manage my writing. The most valuable change has been to adopt a Product Backlog as a middle ground between a detailed outline and total seat-of-the-pants plotting. In my latest Medium piece, I describe how it works.
On Medium, I wrote about how I’m using Boyd’s observe-orient-decide-act loop to drive character and plot development in fiction.
One of the most common concerns I hear about Scrum is, “There are too many meetings.” I dig into the origins of that complaint in this week’s Trainer Talk podcast.
I taught an online version of my company’s “Agile Essentials” class for one of our clients. Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, I had always delivered the class as an in-person event. Social distancing and quarantine forced us to re-evaluate our delivery.
I was determined to do more than force people to sit through an all-day Zoom session in which I merely presented a slide deck. I re-evaluated the flow of the class and determined how to teach the same concepts in a different way. Instead of slides, I build a virtual whiteboard using Mural. Some of the exercises we use in the physical class couldn’t be replicated, so I invented new ones that demonstrated the same principles.
It paid off. The participants demonstrated what they learned throughout the class and provided very positive feedback throughout the course. That’s not to say there wasn’t room for improvement. They let me know some things I could do better next time. But I felt good about what I delivered and certain that they gained knowledge that they can and will use to improve their processes and practices when they return to work tomorrow.
When I teach in person, I often come away from the experience both tired and wired. I’m happy to say that today, I have the same feeling. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get to sleep tonight.
I have a deck of journal prompts my wife bought me. The card I drew today asked, “Think of a situation that’s currently got you stumped. How would one of your heroes resolve it?” And I thought, I’m not stumped by anything right now. It’s not that I know how to resolve every problem in my life; I don’t. But I believe that all my problems are solvable even if I can’t see the solution right now.
This outlook grows out of my career as a Scrum Master and an agile coach. The purpose of Scrum is to solve complex problems. The solution to a complex problem is unknowable in advance. You have to experiment your way to success, and success is not guaranteed, easy, or obvious. You fail a lot. You learn from the failures.
I’ve been using Scrum for my own life goals for over a year now. Every week is a Sprint, and every Sprint is an experiment. I experiment with writing techniques. I experiment with improving my health, both physical and mental. I experiment with different ways to improve my performance at work. I’ve come to believe that there are few personal problems that can’t be solved, if you refuse to stop looking for a solution.
This week, I filled in as host of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast. My guest, Adam Ulery, talked about tips for new Scrum Masters. Check it out!