The Blog

Interesting title right?

Let me start…

I am to a certain degree sure that most of us know the man, Bruce Lee, but just in case, knowing what making assumptions makes us…

Here we go…

Who Was Bruce Lee?

Lee Jun-fan, or as we commonly know him, Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong American martial artist, actor, director, martial arts instructor and philosopher born on November 27, 1940 and died in 1973.

Many of us know him as the great martial artist in his movies like Enter the Dragon, Fist of Fury, The Big Boss, the Game of Death among others.

He was and still is an icon in the martial arts world as he inspired many we call great today, the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Ok, we are not hear to learn about his history and all…So let us get back to the reason why we are here.

Jeet Kune Do

According to the series about his life on Netflix and a lot of the reports, Bruce Lee was a different kind of martial arts master. 

He was originally trained in Wing Chun (under his master, Ip Man), he was dedicated to the fighting style and became really good at it. 

There was one thing that made Bruce Lee different, he wanted to be the best , to be undefeatable and in the process he meet, challenged and was challenged by many masters, but these people weren’t students of Wing Chun. 

These challengers came from the worlds of Karate, Taekwondo, Judo and the likes, to Bruce Lee’s amazement, his technique wasn’t always superior as he lost on some occasions to the extent that on one occasion, he was so badly injured that he almost lost the use of his limbs.

Bruce Lee was interested and as result studied boxing and fencing. He concluded and as a result started something quite interesting, he called it ‘The style of no style’.

What was his conclusion you might ask? 

Bruce Lee concluded that all the fighting styles were great on their own but there was too rigid and formalised, too ceremonial and not in touch with the reality of a street fight and that victory wasn’t awarded because you fought according to the dictates of Wing Chun or Karate nor Judo but that success was in putting your opponent down as fast as possible.

He believed that the most important technique was the one that was useful and could secure your victory NOW.

He started learning the different fighting techniques, sparring with their masters, sharing and learning.

He continuously inspected and adapted all that he knew and learnt, fine tuning the same until he developed his lean, precise, fighting style called Jeet Kune Do, the style of no style (it is interesting to note that he eventually regretted creating this style because some followers fell into the same trap of rigidly following a style).

I progress…

The Scrum Master

According to the updated Scrum guide (Nov 2020):

Now, why did I bring the Scrum master and his/her accountabilities in at this point?

Let us compare the Scrum master at work to Bruce Lee, ok?

The updated Scrum guide (Nov 2020) says various processes, techniques and methods can be employed within the framework as well as that the Scrum framework is purposefully incomplete, only defining the parts required to implement Scrum theory meaning that there are context specific processes and techniques that need to be applied in order for scrum to provide the value is was designed to give; to help people, teams and organisations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.

The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organisation.

He/she is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness which is done by enabling the Scrum Team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework.

The Scrum master is a true leader who serves the scrum team and the larger organisation.

The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team and the organisation in several ways, including:

  • Coaching the team members in self-management and cross-functionality;
  • Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value Increments that meet the Definition of Done;
  • Causing the removal of impediments to the Scrum Team’s progress; and,
  • Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox.

The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in several ways, including:

  • Helping find techniques for effective Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management;
  • Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items;
  • Helping establish empirical product planning for a complex environment; and,
  • Facilitating stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed.

The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including:

  • Leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
  • Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization;
  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact an empirical approach for complex work; and,
  • Removing barriers between stakeholders and Scrum Teams.

That sounds pretty much like Bruce Lee, as stated earlier a Scrum master coaches individuals, teams and the organisation at large, to be effective in this the Scrum master will have to adopt different context specific techniques, these might include facilitation, coaching, knowledge of scaling frameworks e.t.c.

The Scrum master has to be able to inspect and adapt these techniques the same way Bruce Lee did, with the knowledge that the customer or organisation the Scrum master serves is more focussed on generating value and that they will look to the Scrum master and the Scrum guide (Nov 2020) for guidance and as a result the Scrum master must be adaptable (within reason) with the understanding that the solution to a complex problem is emergent and hence the path is one of constant inspection and adaptation, pretty much like Bruce Lee.

Agile Matrix

This is pretty much what we believe at Agile Matrix, we believe that the solution to complex problems are at best adaptive and context specific therefore understanding the context and knowing what tools or techniques to apply are the paramount skill, pretty much like Bruce Lee knowing that he needs to employ karate in this fight as opposed to Wing Chun is the key to winning the fight as opposed to just his mastery of Wing Chun.

If you are a Scrum master, be like Bruce Lee, learn the techniques, master them, understand that they are context specific and seek to understand what tool/technique fits what context and above all Inspect and Adapt.

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  1. Tunde - April 4, 2021

    Great post! Knowledge of frameworks is good, making it work for you or your organisation even better.

    • User Avatar
      AgileMatrix - April 4, 2021

      Many thanks for your comment, you very eloquently captured the spirit of the post.

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