Thursday, March 27, 2014

Can I Start My Software Career As A Scrum Master or Coach?


I don't want to be a downer, but I need to give an observation (out of love) which will cause everyone to not like me for about a week.
 
Nobody is an expert "to begin with." It's to your benefit to let go of that idea.  You shouldn't be paid to lead/teach/coach things you don't know how to do. That happens too much in this industry, and it's a failure mode, not a career path.

But anyone can become great if they apply themselves and work with an open heart, paying attention to what works and what doesn't, what opens people up and what shuts them down, what comes from fear and what comes from love of the work.

I shouldn't be a javascript teacher tomorrow, because I have hardly any javascript experience. Rather than "begin my career teaching this language" I should go write a whole lot of Javascript and read a lot more than I write. I should read blogs, articles, books by experts. 

Then I should start teaching right away so that the students can help me discover my weaknesses -- and then I should work harder to improve. Teaching is a good way to consolidate and clarify the things you know, and a great way to reveal and expose what you do not.

If you have the qualities that make a good SM, you should work on *becoming* a professional scrum master by developing/growing/proving your raw talents and training. You should not start your software career as a professional SM.

Extra points, if you've worked in the field for years and are switching from management, testing, programming, etc to coach, SM, Trainer, or change champion. All relevant experience counts.

I am not here to dissuade you. I think we need more people leading the charge to build safer, stronger, simpler, more human systems that actually deliver value. There is no reason to put your plan on hold or to discard it. 

If you have the drive, I want you to chase the dream and settle for nothing less.
 
You can start your career toward being a change agent. I wish you well. 
If you instead start as a change agent, I wish your teams a speedy recovery.