Before Scrum: A Project Padawan's Story
Scrum master

Before Scrum: A Project Padawan’s story

This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve run things. I’ve produced media projects and websites, and I’ve led creative teams. I’ve managed actors and writers, cinematographers and editors, executive assistants and publicists.

I’ve delivered big projects. And all of it flying by the seat of my pants.

So now it’s time to get better at this. More precise.

Someone mentioned Scrum to me about two years ago when I was investigating ‘proper’ project management training. I immediately got the inevitable image of rugby players doing their thing. My understanding of it now is that things are a lot less muddy. But also, if things become muddy, that’s okay too.

What do I mean by muddy? Well, working within an Agile framework means being responsive. You don’t have one road map and stick to it, because your individuals and interactions must come first – over processes and tools. There are always going to be complications or changes where people are concerned, so we must respond to that change rather than sticking to a plan.

So if things get muddy, convoluted, blocked… we work with it rather than against it and clear things up. Usually, we learn a lot in the process. And then our whites are cleaner than ever.

The interesting thing about both Agile and Scrum, is that they were first mentioned to me as a software delivery tool. That’s all very well, I thought, but I want to be an all-powerful project manager, in the physical world as well as the virtual (this is where the cheesy Padawan/Master Jedi stuff comes in).

Happily, since joining NowComms and observing how we operate, I realise that Agile and Scrum are not just for software delivery but can be applied as a model to just about any process and business. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a piece of work travel from the left-hand side of our kanban board from ‘current sprint’ to ‘in progress’, to ‘test’, to the promised land of ‘released’.


Since joining this passionate, friendly bunch of skilled creatives at NowComms, I’ve been learning on the job what it means to be in an Agile company, employing working software over comprehensive documentation (holy Trello), and cutting my teeth on matrix management (I’m the boss, as so is my boss).

But just because we are an Agile company does not mean we can be ‘purely’ Agile, as many of our clients have different ways of working. So we must be flexible in every way we can. Because they come first.

Next week, I will undertake my Certified ScrumMaster training with Agil8 and report back on my transition from Padawan to Master. But best of all, I can’t wait to bring back what I learn to my tribe and get us quicker, sharper, and even more relevant than before.

Watch this space.







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