Feel the fear and do it anyway
I recently attended an Advance Scrum Master training course. Scrum helps teams to deliver value incrementally in a collaborative way. I wanted to top up my skills, and see what I could learn from others about different ways they have used the methods and overcome some of the challenges.
I was pretty nervous about going on the course. I hadn’t been on a training course for a few years, mainly due to the pandemic. Also the last course I went on was face to face, whereas this course was all done remotely over Zoom. I was joined by attendees from all over the UK as well as France and The Netherlands. So it all felt very different. There was also the opportunity to take an exam at the end of the course which also filled me with dread!
Now that I have attended the course I feel silly for dreading it and feeling so nervous about it.
When I turned up on the first day I felt like everyone else on the course was more experienced than me, so knew more than me. Actually as the course went on and we all started to share our experiences it made me feel reassured. There were lots of delivery managers who struggled with similar challenges to me. The approaches people had used to overcome these challenges were similar to things I had tried, or would try.
This validated that I know more than I think and that I am doing the right things. This was so reassuring.The course was a useful reminder of things that I knew but had forgotten.
One of the things that I was reminded of is the importance of how we phrase things. For teams to use Agile ways of working (including Scrum) effectively, the team needs to be self-organising so they need to feel that they have autonomy. I often say things like “I will let you introduce yourself’. But by saying ‘let’ I am implying my colleagues need permission from me to speak, when that is definitely not the case. Since coming back from my course I have tried to be careful about how I phrase things and I hopefully don’t think I have said “I will let you’.
After the course ended we had fourteen days to complete the exam. I cracked on with more revision and took practice tests but kept putting off doing the actual exam!
I got to the thirteenth evening before I gave myself a good talking too. I told myself that the exam wouldn’t take away the knowledge and new found reassurance from the course. I also realised that if I didn’t pass the exam I would learn areas where my knowledge still needs to be developed and that would be a useful learning experience.
After finally being brave I did pass the exam. It was a great feeling. I felt like I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone, learned some new things, was reminded of some things I knew but had forgotten and felt like I had achieved something. It reminded me in some ways of how I sometimes used to feel as a client when I worked with Lagom on a discovery or user research. There were always findings I knew, things I learnt and recommendations I was excited to try and implement. I also always felt proud that me and the team I worked in tried to have a ‘don’t know’ culture where we tried not to assume things and learnt new things through research.
I know it is easy to say when you are on the other side of something that makes you nervous, but sitting with those nerves and doing the thing anyway can be really rewarding. After all you might find you know more than you think and it is a nice feeling to have that validated.