Monday, March 21, 2016

Fighting the F.U.D. as a Scrum Master

Fight the F.U.D.
The world of technology is awash in acronyms.  These acronyms rise and fall with much of fashion in the technology world.  A few of them have lingered over the years and represent a common knowledge among technology people.  This week I want to talk about F.U.D. and how you can fight it.

According to the urban dictionary, the term F.U.D. is an acronym for fear, uncertainty and doubt. The term was born during the start of the open source movement as companies like Microsoft and Cisco used disinformation to try and undermine the credibility of open source advocates.  The idea was that if they could create fear of the new movement, uncertainty of their goals and doubt about if they could actually solve business problems then they could maintain dominant market share.

Since these early open source days, Microsoft has dropped the F.U.D. campaign and has eagerly embraced open source and cloud computing with its Microsoft Azure tools.  It is positive development and has been a money making strategy for the company.

As a scrum master you are going to deal with F.U.D. every day.  Organizations, are riddled with fear of changing how they do business.  Any uncertainty is intolerable to executives and business leaders.  Finally, doubt is going to be used at every turn to try an undermine efforts for change.  To address fear, start small with an individual or team and show how the process works.  A person scared of heights will jump on a zip line if you can prove that they will not fall off the line or injure themselves.  Uncertainty is easily dispelled with hard data and evidence that the new ideas are working and improving performance.  Doubt, is eliminated by your personal conviction as a scrum master and by more real world evidence.

I am not saying there is a magic bullet to deal with F.U.D. but as a scrum master you need to be aware of it.  Otherwise, any effort you make to try and improve the organization is going to be fruitless.

Until next time.