What’s the What?
I recently parted ways with my Scrum teams in order to pursue an opportunity another company. One of the team members asked for general feedback about how the team had been doing. Here is my response:
I have always been open with you about things we are doing well and areas where we need to improve as a team, so instead of specific criticisms or suggestions, let me leave you with a few words of wisdom:
Always ask yourself, “what’s the what?”
Always ask yourself, “why?”
As a technical person, it’s easy to jump to the solution before really understanding the problem. Instead, always strive to understand what user or customer wants and why they want it before deciding how to solve the problem. How is this put into practice? An easy way is via user stories that reflect what the user is trying to accomplish rather than a technical solution. It could be a business task the user is trying to accomplish or a business goal that they are trying to achieve.
The beauty of agile is that you, as technical people, are not only empowered to ask these questions but are expected to. If anyone ever tries to tell you that you should not be concerned about the “what” or the “why”, do not accept that answer. Your users and customers will be much better off when you understand their needs.