Monday, March 7, 2016

Devotion matters

Devotion is harder than it looks
I work as a scrum master and technology professional.  It is not an easy job.  I am expected to run meetings at all hours of the day.  I communicate with developers half a world away.  I spend weekends and evenings retraining myself to stay on top all of the latest trends and topics.  I am compensated for my work but it really isn’t enough for the sacrifices which are expected of me on a daily basis.  So what drives a scrum master to do what they do?  It is devotion.

This week I wanted to talk about devotion and how it helps a scrum master get through the difficult periods of work and life.  When I was growing up, my aunt was a nun.  It did not seem like a big deal to my mother or the rest of the family.  It was her job.  She was a teacher and administrator and to have those opportunities in the early 1960’s she became a nun.  It didn’t seem to me like a religious calling but just something that came with the job.  As I grew older, it became obvious that my aunt sacrificed much to become a teacher and administrator.

She was not allowed to have a telephone in her room.  When my mother wanted to speak with her she had to get permission from the Mother Superior to speak with my aunt.  My aunt couldn’t keep a pet to keep herself company.  She had to live a life of celibacy so she was forbidden to have a boyfriend or husband.  She was even forbidden to rent an apartment and she did not have any say on where she worked.  She went to where the arch-diocese sent her.  She made these sacrifices because she loved teaching children and giving them an opportunity to succeed.  It was her devotion.

I talk about it as devotion rather than dedication because, to me, the different between the two traits is one of desire.  Dedication is something you do because you have a sense of duty or obligation to do it.  This is why many employees are dedicated.  They feel they have no choice to engaged in this type of commitment because they will be judged wanting.  Devotion is something you do out of love and commitment to the cause you are working.  Thus, my aunt was devoted to helping children and the sacrifices she made to make that happen were things she made gladly in order to help her cause.

This is how I think about being a scrum master.  You go into it as a devotion.  You have to like people.  You have to like developers.  You have to want to make a difference in your organization.  You are going to give up weekends and holidays.  You will have lonely moments and you will be giddy with success.  That is what devotion is all about giving up something of yourself for a cause you believe.  I am devoted and more scrum masters should be too.

Until next time.