Being from the “correct” side of the pond, thanksgiving isn’t a holiday I’ve ever celebrated but today being Thanksgiving in the USA it made me think what am I thankful for in my agile journey. I’ve used the giving thanks warm-up numerous times in a retrospective but never truly thought of the people who have helped me in my journey as a Scrum Master.

Where it all began?

My first thanks goes to a guy called Julian Wheway. Julian isn’t someone who’s an agile guru or written tonnes of books but he is who I have to thank for my first experience as a Scrum Master. Julian came in as my boss at Monarch Travel Group as Head of Web Development when i was team leader of one of their teams. Julian is a bit crazy and him coming into an organisation that was (and still is) very hierarchical and traditional but came in with a completely way of thinking and approaching how we worked. Sometimes it would have been nice for Julian to think inside the box but without his drive and embracing new ideas I wouldn’t be a Scrum Master. Julian introduced Scrum for a project we were delivering which really turned things upside down. It gave me the chance to Scrum Master a team and remove myself from a team leader role (albeit it only temporarily) which I wasn’t really enjoying and help some guys who were much better devs than me deliver.

It opened my eyes to a whole different world, one i wanted to explore more and more. At the time Julian and I would always have plenty of healthy debate and back then I never thought i would be thanking him because truly without his influence i would probably never have discovered Agile and Scrum and would probably be writing dodgy code somewhere!

The Industry Heavyweights

There are plenty of people out there who provide a huge amount of material to the Agile world but for me two people really stand out. The first is Mike Cohn. There isn’t a book, blog, video, email or anything that I have read or seen that Mike says that isn’t sensible and excellent advice. There has been many a time i’ve dived back into Succeeding with Agile or User Stories Applied for small sections or chapters just to help or re-affirm my understanding or to get Mike’s take in a particular subject. It’s lead me to think “What Would Mike Cohn Do” or WWMCD for short.¬†Thanks Mike, you help me (and I’m sure many others) on a daily basis help their teams improve.

The second is David Hicks from Agil8. After the early experience when i first worked with Agile and Scrum that is described above i decided I wanted to be a Scrum Master as a career. I found David’s training courses and booked myself onto Certified Scrum Master course. Not only did I think the course was fantastic but David was an excellent teacher who’s real world experience that he could apply to the training material or candidate questions really brought the course alive and taught me some extremely valuable knowledge. The CSM course gets a bit of a bashing at times but David made the two days so much more than a training course.¬†Not long before i booked onto that course I had quit my permanent job and decided i wanted to become a Scrum Master full time which has grown into me being a scrum master full time on a contract basis to various clients via my own Limited Company. Without that training course i doubt as many doors would have opened for me, so thanks David!

If either of you are ever in London or Kent i owe you a beer!

Please feel free to comment below on who your Agile Thanksgivings are for, I’d really love to hear about the experiences and people who have helped you along your journey like the guys above have helped mine.