Miyagi, the Karate Kid and Scrum

As I mentioned in my last entry, I whipped up a small talk to do at last night’s Melbourne Scrum User Group meetup, which had the rough title ““Being Mr Miyagi and the Karate Kid“.

I scoured the web to find some stills from the 1984 movie and printed them onto A5 paper to show to the gathering, in this order.

  1. Mr Miyagi
  2. Daniel
  3. Wax on, wax off
  4. Sand floor
  5. Paint fence
  6. Daniel punching a target on Miyagi’s chest protector
  7. Miyagi and Daniel (doing a Crane stance) in the style of the Simpsons.
  8. Daniel fighting the Cobra-Kai at the tournament
  9. Daniel getting the girl

The general gist of the talk was that when you’re learning something from an expert, you may not understand why you are doing something at first (steps 3-5) but you’re probably doing it for good reason. Eventually you should benefit from the routine of doing what seem to to be unrelated tasks.

In Scrum, there are only a few roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner and Team Member), artifacts (Product and Sprint backlogs and the burndown) and ceremonies (daily Scrums, planning, reviews and retrospectives). It’s a simple framework that gives a team a focus (step 6) to start from.

Later, more advanced techniques can be used (step 7) and eventually you will have the agility to adapt to the situation at hand (step 8). The outcome of this is better development and a better product that makes the customer happy…you’ll get the girl (step 9).

The discussion after my spiel touched on points such as making sure that you inspect what you’ve been doing at regular intervals  with retrospectives and adapt what you’re doing for the future. We also discussed length of iteration 1 week, 2 week, 3 week, 30 days and even half day iterations.

While typing this up, I discovered a similar post by Jeff Gothelf in New York that relates The Karate Kid with User Experience and agile. Great minds think alike, or at least similarly!

I really enjoyed this month’s meetup and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Being Mr Miyagi and the Karate Kid

Update – I’ve done a follow up post.

I’m doing a talk at the Melbourne Scrum User Group‘s “Lightning Talk meetup” next week.

The deal is this: People take 5 minutes to pitch an idea at the audience.  We follow up with 10-15 minutes discussion and then move onto the next speaker.  We keep going until we run out of talkers or time.

I am going to do a 5 minute spiel which has the working title “Being Mr Miyagi and the Karate Kid“. It could also be called “Do or do not… there is no try” but I felt like being martial arts and not sci-fi 🙂

No slides, just a few bits of A5 paper. I will update this post, after the fact and let you know how it went.

“Software Development is Hard” AKA “Keeping the kittens happy”

Update – I have updated this presentation, and you can see it here.

Here’s a presentation that I did a while back to some colleagues on the theme “Software Development is Hard”.

The audience consisted of a range of people, with differing levels of knowledge abut the matter. I was pretty happy with the presentation, overall. I deliberately tried to steer it away from a black/white, “waterfall is bad, agile is good”, juxtaposition. I don’t know how successful this was. What do you think?

I also managed to get some nice pics from Flickr into it too, including some rather cute kittens on slide 25 🙂

I took quite a lot of inspiration from Gabrielle Benefield and Pete Deemer‘s rather good Scrum Primer. In my opinion, this is one of the best introductions to Scrum that I’ve read. It’s easy to read and concise (at 20 pages), so check it out if you haven’t already. Instead of thrusting A whole book about Scrum into someone’s hands, this might be a better introduction to the topic…as well as my presentation, of course.