On “Ba” at a Scrum of Scrums

I was a “chicken” today at one of the more effective Scrum of Scrums for an Agile Release Train that I have witnessed. Big program. 14 teams. The uberScrumMaster (Release Team Manager) started the meeting at 9 am, facilitated the meeting and ran a pretty tight ship.

Fourteen teams (2-3 remote) reported in a standard format (see pic) in about 20 minutes total.

A few “meet afters” ( we need to talk about this more) were raised.

In the standard report, one of the ScrumMasters narrated the following;

–       “yesterday, we reported that we were blocked (something was put in our way) by another team.

–       It wasn’t true. It was we that had blocked ourselves and, yes, we blocked everybody else too!

–       We are really sorry and we fixed it just as soon as we could .”

This conversation happened part in jest and fun, and part in dead seriousness. This team of teams has “ba”. (the energy of an effective, self-organizing team. See below.).

After the standard report, there were 3-4 “meet afters” discussed. The uberScrumMaster took notes and his laptop was projected in the room so everybody can see the work and agreements in process.

The meeting adjourned at 9:25 AM , with all questions asked and answered.

Make no mistake, this team of teams has significant challenges ahead (don’t they all?), but it is just so satisfying when you see it all come together. And they will handle the challenges. I am so proud of these people. It is so rewarding for any of us to be a part of a high performing team.

Again I am reminded, that with just a little leadership (which these folks and their managers, who were not present at this meeting, of course) clearly exhibit, you can trust the teams EVERY TIME.

Quick note on “Ba” below.


What is Ba?

Ba- is the Zen of Scrum, a shared “context in motion and the energy that drives a self-organizing team:

–       “Dynamic interaction of individuals and organization creates synthesis in the form of a self-organizing team

–       The fuel of ba is its self-organizing nature-  a shared context in which individuals can interact

–       Team members create new points of view and resolve contradictions through dialogue

–       New knowledge as a stream of meaning emerges

–       This emergent knowledge codifies into working software

–       Ba must be energized with its own intentions, vision, interest, or mission to be directed effectively

–       Leaders provide autonomy, creative chaos, redundancy, requisite variety, love, care, trust, and commitment

–       Creative chaos can be created by implementing demanding performance goals. The team is challenged to question every norm of development

–       Time pressures will drive extreme use of simultaneous engineering

–       Equal access to information at all levels is critical

(source. Hitotsubashi: On Knowledge Management)


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