In the past few months I’ve seen the following question several times: “Who’re the Agile/Scrum Guru’s or Thought Leaders?” The urge to ask the question is good but misplaced. I assume it comes from people who’re new to Agile and want to know where to get good ideas. Inevitably people reply with long lists of people.
There is just one problem, the whole concept of thought leaders is alien to Agile thinking. We promote the value of cross functional teams and always assume that even the least experienced person has a contribution to make even if it’s asking a question.
I learn from people in spite of their names. I’ve learned things from Ron, Alistair and other well known people, but I’ve also learned from lesser known people. When you start paying attention to names your narrow your thinking. Radical suggestion tell us which non-guru you’ve learned something from in the last week? (in my case Charles, Heather and Steve). Read widely and ask if the ideas fit with your understanding of Scrum and Agile. When you encounter a new idea go back to the Agile Manifesto and its accompanying Principles. Ask yourself will this new idea help you deliver high quality software and delight your customer sooner.
Frankly I focus most of my reading and thinking about outside the Agile community now. My personal energy is focused on understanding people through the lens of Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience.
Let’s stop gazing at our navels.
If you must have a guru look up Brian Marick (see: Artisanal Retro-Futurism crossed with Team-Scale Anarcho-Syndicalism) he will be happy to have a few followers 🙂
Mark Levison has been helping Scrum teams and organizations with Agile, Scrum and Kanban style approaches since 2001. From certified scrum master training to custom Agile courses, he has helped well over 8,000 individuals, earning him respect and top rated reviews as one of the pioneers within the industry, as well as a raft of certifications from the ScrumAlliance. Mark has been a speaker at various Agile Conferences for more than 20 years, and is a published Scrum author with eBooks as well as articles on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org an AgileAlliance.org.