Interview with Alan Cyment
In this week’s interview, we introduce you to Alan Cyment, Certified Scrum Trainer.
Alan, the first native Spanish-speaking CST, loves seeing software development from a human perspective. He strives for honest, passion-driven, great-but-not-perfect emergent design. For software for humans, rather than machines; looking people in the eyes, rather than reading e-mail.
Let’s hear what Alan has to share with us:
What does ‘being Agile’ mean to you?
To me being agile means agreeing that, if this series of statements resonate with you, that means next Monday will be even happier than the previous one:
- Empiricism, not Intellectual Omnipotence
- The Middle Way, not the Extremes
- Unstable equilibrium between Chaos and Limits, Short-term and Long-term thinking, Pragmatism and Idealism
- Low-cost Error is an asset, not a liability
- Complexity when developing products and process can be mastered by Organic Growth
- Trust is the cornerstone of constructive group-work
- Technical Excellence and Minimalism lead to Malleable Products
- Focus allows combining Effort and Relaxation
- Constant Kaizen plus eventual Kaikaku can build an almighty Useful Utopia
- Perfect is the enemy of the Good
- The answer to How is Yes
When and how were you first introduced to Agile and Scrum? What caught your attention?
I first learned about Agile around 2005 when I was working as a RUP (Rational Unified Process) process engineer. There was no connection between the methodology we had designed and what teams actually did in order to succeed. I was initially attracted by its minimalism and the empirical approach to developing both the product and the process.
How do you contribute to spreading awareness about Agile and Scrum?
I fully agree with Bachan Anand: the best way to spread Agile and Scrum is by living and doing them in your daily work, and in life in general.
What are the expectations, in general, of the people who attend your classes? What kind of feedback do you get from them?
Many of the people who attend my classes expect to experience an immersion in the paradigm proposed by Scrum. The promise is to delve into the whys of Scrum. I find that even those who start the class asking for tools and practices leave the room surprised by the powerful effect theatre-based games can have on the way we see our work. Perhaps the most shocking, yet enriching feedback I often get is from people who joyfully decide to quit their jobs after attending the training. After all career-Kaikaku is what I strive for.
Do you see much interest for certified trainings? If yes, why do you think people are looking for certification?
I usually deliver “certified trainings,” which is way different from “certified students.” Many companies and people come looking for the latter, but the Scrum Alliance certifications focus on the former. A CSM course has a certified quality: it’s the trainer who has been certified, not the student’s understanding. Certified quality means “a respectable institution says this course rocks.” As in every ecosystem, when there is an abundance of offers, some people look for some kind of organizational backup.
After becoming a CSM or CSPO, what do you see as the next step for an individual?
I think it depends a lot on the person, so I will tell you what I did: I left the CSM ecstatic, so I decided to do whatever it took to start using Scrum. I quit my job, asked trainers if I can work as their assistant, and looked for a workplace where I would have the necessary freedom to experiment with the framework’s practices and values.
I wish the Scrum Alliance would offer a wide array of training options according to the career path the individual chooses. Maybe the CSD certification is a step in that direction, but I would like it if there was a parallel ScrumMaster and Product Owner learning track, with focus on facilitation and product development respectively.
What, in your opinion, are the best things about Agile?
The exquisite blend of freedom, discipline, playfulness, excellence and common sense you see in a great implementation.
Are there any drawbacks to Agile, in your perception?
I would talk more about weaknesses than drawbacks. To me the biggest risk when doing Agile is focusing too much on the short-term. Extremes, as in life, are dangerous: agility seems like a counter reaction to the drastic emphasis that waterfall puts on long-term.
Do you think it is a good idea to implement Agile and Scrum in non-IT teams?
Of course, as long as the work entails developing a complex product that can be malleable enough for iterations to be low-cost.
How long have you been working with Conscires, and how do you find the experience?
From the moment I met Bachan I knew that that rapport meant I would feel at home working with this company. After more than a year I can say my hunch was right.
Any other interesting thoughts/ideas that you wish to share with us…?
Yes, I think Shu-Ha-Ri should be considered harmful, but let’s postpone that discussion.