我的 CSM 老师

Gullo 是去年 Scrum Gathering 的 keynote 讲师,也是我的 CSM 老师。今天看到他的中国行感受,其中提到的打车被堵那段就是和我在一起,我想我也应该写点东西记录一下和他相处的感受。


时逢 Scrum Gathering,我在上一家公司实践 Scrum 有一段时间,尝到了一些好处,也遇到了很多问题。于是我想到了去参加 CSM 课程,一方面系统学习一下,另一方面希望从老师那里找到答案(还可以锻炼英语)。(前段时间国内第一个 CST/CSP-Daniel Teng 邀请我免费去参加他的三天 CSM 课程,想必更有意思,有机会一定要去一次)

Daniel 用 Scrum 来教 Scrum:

  • 两天的课程分成多个 Sprint
  • 把学生的需求写成 Story 卡片
  • 可视化教学环境
  • 定义 working agreements
  • 定义 Definition Of Done
  • 使用 Burn down chart

这种授课方式我是从未见过的,而且很多时候边讲边画,还有很多小游戏,比如翻硬币,投南瓜比赛,经理和员工等。 Daniel 能把复杂的道理简单地讲解出来,让我们这些英文很差的人都能听明白。饱受传统开发方式折磨的同学们都表示收获很大,已经跃跃欲试了。

Hanging out

第二天课程结束后,我和 Daniel 都要去五道口跟 Bob,Carol,Shining 一起吃烤鸭。他上课穿的很正式,天气很热,他想回酒店换身衣服,我说我可以去酒店等你,他稍显尴尬。我们打了个车,成功地被堵死在路上,司机对 Daniel 很好奇,我便当起了翻译,他们就美国房价是否过高,美国人结婚是否要买房等问题交换了意见。为了不让他们久等,我决定改乘地铁,于是付了钱和 Daniel 去坐地铁了,司机表示我们不够意思,把他一个人扔在路上堵着连个说话的人都没有。一路上我也在想,去他房间肯定挺尴尬的,终于到了大堂我说我在这儿等你(让我记住了 Lobby 这个词),我俩都松了一口气。他很快换完装备出来了,我们又去坐地铁,第一次和外国朋友相处我还挺兴奋的,一路上我不停给他介绍北京的特色和我的特色,两次差点带错路,都是 Daniel 给我纠正过来,后来到了饭店后我开玩笑说是 Daniel 带我过来的。

Daniel 用一个 app 学了几句中文,后来回美国后还和孩子一起报班学中文。 Daniel 擅长绘画,身上总带着一个小本本,画了好些速写。当我们聊到美国的 IT 时,他居然画出了美国地图,标出了一些主要的城市。 Daniel 有一个漂亮的妻子和 3 个孩子,第 4 个孩子马上要出生了(现在已经出生了)。他经常出差,对陌生城市没有一点不适感,他说他以后会经常来中国开课。

我们现在还保持在 Skype 上沟通,希望以后还能见到他,并且用英语或中文流利地交谈。

— 附上 Daniel 的中国行感受:

Eagle and Dragon

My mind has been officially and completely blown.

I spent two weeks in a country whose language I could not speak, read, or write.  The people there, in various degrees, were able to speak and read my language.  It was nice in a way to be able to tune out and not understand EVERY conversation going on around me or feel the need to read every sign.

I also found that much of our communication as human beings is universal.  Pointing and pantomiming go a long way; as do smiling, having patience, and simply making an effort to understand something before passing judgment.  I am grateful to all those I encountered in China who had patience with me and welcomed me to their country.

From a tourism perspective, guides in Beijing are very inexpensive it would seem.  I had a driver, guide, meals and attraction tickets included for 800 RMB (about $130) all day.  However, if this is appealing, I would recommend skipping the “tour of a silk factory”, “tour of a cloisonné factory”, “tea restaurant”, and the infamous “Nephew of the Last Emperor’s Calligraphy Studio” at the Forbidden City.  This is where the guide will steer you and where they get kickbacks from stuff that you buy.

Initially, it seems like there are great deals on things.  They won’t haggle, stating that “this is a government shop and the prices are fixed”.  Just walk away.  You can find the same stuff elsewhere, like the Qiamen district in Beijing or Nanjin Road in Shanghai and other areas around the Bund and Yuyuan Gardens.

Prior to spending time in Beijing, the most polluted air quality I had seen was in Milan.  I have heard Mexico City is also very bad.  I haven’t been there.  The locals in Beijing aren’t naïve.  They are all well aware of the pollution situation.  On one particular day, we couldn’t see the buildings just across the street, which was about 30 meters (about 100 feet).

They are also well aware of the population situation.  I hadn’t seen that magnitude of population density… ever.  I mean, sure, in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Rome, etc. there are times during the day when the streets are crowded; the morning rush, lunch time, the evening rush, special events, holidays.  However in China, it is like perpetual rush hour.

On a Friday at actual rush hour, my friend and I were taking a cab back to my hotel from the training venue.  We spent about an hour traveling 1.25 miles.  We were stopped dead on 103 National Road (the Jingtong Expressway).  It was like being on the 5 or 95 freeways.

After about 10-15 minutes of sitting there, watching others get out of their cars, chatting to one another, my friend said something to the driver, paid him, opened the door and said “Let’s go.”  The driver was pissed.  However, there at the side of the road I could see the Dawanglu subway station.  I had to laugh out loud as I wheeled my rollerboard full of training supplies down the freeway in between the parked cars… It was a scene right out of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”.

We were back to my hotel in about 10 minutes.  I asked what the driver was on about and my friend said that he didn’t want to be stuck alone in traffic with no one to talk to.  (I suspect he was also mad he wasn’t getting paid to be there anymore either.)

In visiting the various attractions, I was amazed by the history, traditions, and balance between opulence and poverty, complexity and simplicity, self and community, and various other characteristics; some in harmony, others in sharp discord.

By far, the thing that amazed me the most was how inaccurate all of my preconceived notions of China were.  In America, we generally don’t pay much attention to anything that doesn’t directly involve ourselves or is not touted in the media.  Because I firmly believe that most media is sensationalistic, what we get is a caricature of China, not reality.  I am sure they get the same distorted view of the U.S. from their media.

Meanwhile, the good citizens of both countries are trying to eke out an existence however we can, caring for our families and other loved ones, making friends, celebrating life and reflecting on the condition of humanity.

I am not naïve either.  It is well known that the government is continually watching and monitoring the people (… in both countries.)  It is well known that corruption is rampant (…in both countries.)  There are the rules and then what people actually do to make things work (…in both countries.)  So, what’s different?

Quite a bit, and yet, not so much.  I continually found myself wondering what life in the US might be like with 1 Billion more people and a homogenous culture reaching back 2000-3000 years.  Probably even closer still to that of China.

One of the main reasons I was in China was for the Regional Scrum Gathering, which was a huge success.  Shining Hsiong, Bob Jiang, and all of the others who volunteered did a PHENOMENAL job!!  I know first hand how difficult it is to organize a Scrum Gathering, and they didn’t have a great events firm like Elastic to rely on for logistics.  Kudos to the whole team and speakers!!

China is ready to move forward with Agility.

It has already been happening.  It will take time.  There will be some resistance.  Old traditions in business will be difficult to change.  Centuries of focus on theory x and Taylor model management are not abandoned easily.  Elaborately hierarchical organizations do not become flat over night.

But which country am I really speaking of now???  These things could easily be said about ALL countries and organizations around the world when first considering Agile adoption.  Looking at how the society functions in China, from my limited exposure, it seems right on the edge of chaos; doing only what’s necessary, deciding at the last responsible moment, following the rules as a set of guidelines not absolutes, etc.

There are establishments emerging which are uber-focused on customer service and delight, like the renown Haidilao restaurant where the servers are able to exercise complete control over delivering the best experience possible.

The CSM classes I taught received overwhelmingly positive feedback.  I was surprised.  I thought that the fact that they were primarily in English would have sealed my fate.  The attendees were excited about Scrum, Agile values and principles, and eager to hear more.  It would have been great to have more time for discussion and more examples but that’s the case with every class.  We made the most of the time we had.

Overall, I must say 谢谢! (THANK YOU!) to everyone whom I met and came in contact with during the 2.5 weeks while I was in China: the random people I encountered while exploring the sights, the Gathering attendees and organizers, the attendees in my classes, and everyone else whom I might have missed mentioning.  I was amazed at how friendly and hospitable everyone was.  It gave me hope for the world of work and the world in general.  I felt very welcome and well-cared for.  What’s more, I felt safe.  I wish I could say the same for walking around alone in downtown Detroit or L.A. or NYC or even Philly.

I have made some great friends during my stay and I hope we can keep in touch.  I look forward to the next opportunity I have to visit and the adventures that await…