My Agile Life: Only Me

(This column is posted at, Steve’s LinkedIn, and Steve’s Tumblr)

(My continuing “Agile Life” column, where I use Scrum for a more balanced and productive life continues).

The Blame Game is the bane of good organization, good companies, good productivity, and happiness. Yet, how many times do we blame others for problems automatically? How many times have we been blamed for problems automatically?  How many great projects have failed because people fling blame at each other?

OK we know the answer; a lot.

When I began doing my Agile Life, I had a most interesting experience; I had only myself to blame for anything.  I was the only responsible one when most anything went wrong.

Something was late? My fault. Something not done well? My fault. Very, very few cases of things that wreren’t due to me. To blame anyone else would have required a Herculean effort of self-delusion that I just don’t have the energy or lack of morals for.

This was awesome.

Because I am the major or only cause of failure, I am aware of why things go wrong.

Because I am the major or only cause of failure, I know what to improve.

Because I am the major or only cause of failure, I must acknowledge my flaws.

Because I am the major or only cause of failure, I am the major source of success.

Agile is about a mixture of heavy personal responsibility and team responsibility teaches you a lot about dealing with failure.  This personal Agile experience is an excellent compliment to group Agile because it teaches you that responsibility very, very fast.

I’ve also become much, much more aware of my own flaws and mistakes – what I do wrong, what I do write, and how I screw up. I’m a much better person for doing personal Agile.

Of course it’s also painful. I have work habits that are a bit bizarre seen from the outside (mixing casual, obsessive, distractable, and focused). My Scrum Master abilities focus a bit too much on the rituals with the idea they’ll help fix things “eventually.” My “Product Owner” side can forget my “Scrum Master side’s” recommendations on unfamiliar work and forge ahead on spewing ideas to my “Team Member” side.

But at least I have all these insights. I can’t blame anyone else.

Which is great.  Are you ready to try Agile in your life and learn your flaws?

– Steve