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Hi all. Quite exciting, since this will be my first post about the work I do.

I have been in many situations in the past that have made me grow as person and Scrum Master alike. Recently, I was involved in a Retrospective that included participants with varied Scrum exposure and so I told them about the objective of the event to get everyone on even ground.

I started by telling them that I would be giving them 5 minutes to gather their thoughts and that they should write them down in order to share with the Team elements that they found to be “Contributing Factors”, “Needed to improve” and lastly “Elements we needed to stop doing” as a Team.

Pretty simple, right? It is never easy when it comes down to expressing one’s self in front of people you just started working with, therefore I don’t expect everyone to be very open and objective about the work they have done as a Team. As a Scrum Master, it is the one event that concretely pushes me to improve and understand the intricacies of communication.

Now, as you all well expected since it is the title of the post, here comes the “Nerd” factor. I strongly believe one of the factors of success of Scrum in Software Development is the emphasis on interactivity and collaboration. Unfortunately, the building blocks of software has been Nerds and their love for Tech for quite sometime and they have grown somehow detached. I like to call this effect, the “Nerd Cave”. The “Nerd Cave” is best described as the place where a single person lives to code with minimum exposure to light and as little communication as possible since it is sacred ground. I know, I exagerate (a little!).

So, I can’t say I was surprised when one of the participants told me the event was a waste of time, but I was still taken aback.

His thought was that we could be doing something much more important, working (coding!!). He also felt that we were wasting time since we had too many participants around the table during the event.

Naturally, my first reaction (internally) was to disagree right away. I somehow could not believe that he could not see the importance of communicating/exchanging with every member of the Team elements which made us work better ..! I immediately said “So, what do you suggest we do?”.

His suggestion was to simply gather smaller groups of participants to minimize the levels of interactions and once all groups have given all their ideas, we form the entire Team to share the results of each of them. The key to this is that the timebox for the smaller groups is reduced to say 15 min and then use another timebox for when we all come together as a Team.

The beauty of the Empirical Process is that of improvement by trial and we embrace change. I appreciated the suggestion and made note to try to do it this way the next time we meet, but all this to say that we should never forget the fundamental elements of what makes a Nerd. Through these small steps and measures, I am positive that we can get them Interacting with others effectively.

Thanks, PS