5 + 1 Questions to Jowen Mei

Jowen Mei has been a Scrum Developer and Product Owner before he found his true passion in the role of Scrum Master. He loves guiding teams and organizations on their journey to deliver more value. Jowen works for AgiliX, a network organization that provides Agile transformation consulting and certified training worldwide.

He also started several communities, as he loves to connect people and bring different minds together. He is also a trainer and a professional coach. In the last years, he has become a fan of Scrum patterns. While The Scrum Guide describes the basic rules of Scrum, the patterns amplify the guide by showing teams how to solve problems in a specific context. Each pattern helps you focus your thinking on a single, well-contextualized problem at a time.

Together with Cesario Ramos (co-author of “A Scrum Book – The spirit of the game”), Jowen created a community around these patterns to increase the level of Scrum adoptions. For instance, they organize Scrum Book Clubs to share experiences and knowledge. Everybody’s welcome to join!

1. What is Agile or the Agile Mindset for you? 

Agile is about living and practicing the values and principles outlined in the manifesto.

The mindset for me is not about doing, or even being, but about becoming.

It’s about continuously learning and improving, yourself and all the things you do and believe.

I don’t just do things because they’re the way they are, but try to understand them so they can be improved. There are so many things I don’t know, I try to be open to anything that emerges. I’m happy but never satisfied.

And I have to mention people here… it’s all about people.

2. What’s your favourite tool or method you use during your coaching? 

Over the years, I’ve created a large toolkit, but there’s not one that specifically comes to mind. It depends on the job, I guess. I do like gamification and visualization techniques. 

3. What book or website would you recommend? 

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A Scrum Book, by The Scrum Patterns Group

While the Scrum Guide provides the basic rules of Scrum, the Scrum patterns amplify the guide by showing teams how to solve problems in a specific context. This body of literature tells you the rationale behind Scrum as a whole, or behind many of its successful practices. It describes strategies on how to play the game. 

The patterns are proven solutions, distilled from a collective experience. They are small and incremental, change organizational culture and communication paths, and contribute to the quality of life! What more could you wish for? 😊

I wish more Scrum practitioners would know about this source; It has value for practitioners of all levels. 

More info on https://scrum-patterns.org/

4. What is essential for you during an Agile transformation? 

To leave the ownership with the people. I believe in the volunteering principle where people want/do it themselves. I think this is the only way to have sustainable change and it takes time and patience (which I want to have more of). 

5. What is 1 Aspect of coaching Agile teams you like the most?

Contributing to the personal development of individuals and teams makes me get up every day! Inspiring people gives me great joy.

And since there are many challenges, they help me grow as well. 

For instance, in the early days, I thought I knew stuff and tried to convince people. I found out that that doesn’t work so I’m transitioning to inspire instead of convincing, but I still have a long way to go. My feeling is that, in recent years, the amount of things I don’t know has increased, at the expense of things I do know. I’m doubting a lot more now, myself included. This is an uncomfortable state, but at the same time, this is where learning takes place. I’m appreciative of the insights and perspectives this work brings me.

+1. How do Scrum Patterns or the understanding of Scrum patterns help you as an SM?  

They inspire me on two levels:

– The individual patterns describe the rationale of why and how a possible solution works, so I can decide if it applies in my context

– There are pattern languages and sequences, which provide a systemic view. They guide me on where to focus my efforts during an adoption.