Monday, March 04, 2013

The Serenity of Flow

The Certified Scrum Master class attendees were off and running on a self-organization exercise. The drill was simple: plan, build, and test as many paper airplanes as you can in 3 minutes.

I was busily preparing for the next class module when I gradually became aware of what was transpiring:  “Twenty-four”, “Twenty-five”, “Twenty-six”… like the coxswain of an Olympic crew team, the Product Owner called out the production count.  With heartbeat regularity, every two seconds another paper airplane floated gracefully across the room, nosed into the exact same spot on the projection screen and settled gently into a tidy pile on the floor.

Their product design? Standard. Their manufacturing process? Pretty conventional. But for 180 seconds in Munich, aptly-named “Team Front” achieved the perfect state of Flow that we wish for all our Scrum teams.

Congratulations to “Team Front” on their new world record!  Pictured (from left to right) are: Oliver Heerdegen, Chris Holland, Todor Ganebovsky, Karla Korb, Thomas Bohne, Katrin Sulzbacher, Norbert Toth-Gati, and Klaus-Rüdiger Hase.
Flow is that transcendent state where, with very little explicit communication, team members mesh into perfect formation, each contributing equally and to their utmost toward a singularly shared goal. Eight individuals who had been complete strangers only hours before were working in complete unison as if they had trained together for years.

When the clock stopped, the tidy pile of planes had reached 32…shattering the previous Scrum record of 28.

We spend so much of our time in the Scrum community focused on the nuances of running Scrum: How do I manage teams across multiple locations? How do I balance a sustainable pace with Velocity? But sometimes it is important to take a step back and just appreciate the simple joy of achieving Flow.

-- Alex Brown

Wanna take a crack at breaking the record?  Click here to take course with Jeff. 

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