This is the second (definitely shorter) part of a 2-part piece I began last week, about developing your own learning plan. This time we are looking at what you do once you have a solid learning habit, and are wanting to up the ante.
(If you missed last weeks Part 1, How To Create Your Own Guided learning Plan you can read it here)
Levelling Up: What Next?
By now you will have learned a great deal. You will be a good scrum master / agile practitioner. Moving from good to great is a shift in attitude rather than approach. Interestingly, you probably won’t feel any more skilled, but that is just the curse of knowledge at work there!
Whilst you could comfortably continue to read books & blogs, watching videos, and do so, its not enough if you really want to step up your learning. There are 2 keys to continued personal development now, and they are:
The more you learn, the more you will find yourself drawn to particular topics.
For me, I love stuff on motivation and behaviour. Why people do what they do, (and bafflingly why they do things they think they don’t want to do) is what gets me up in the morning. This means I am particularly drawn to learning about psychology, non-verbal communication and sociology.
I have worked with people who have been particularly interested in metrics and measuring. Others were curious about process development & refinement.
The point here is that these ideas are not particular to agile working. They are not even particular to software engineering. These are wider skills, and your learning will have become wider as a result of your natural inclination to specialise.
Sharing your ideas and having a conversation about them moves you towards critical thinking patterns. Especially if those conversations are with people who may not agree with you. This is how and where original ideas come from. No longer are you thinking about what you have learned from others, but rather you are creating new and unique ideas. Sharing them openly, and developing them is the stuff of experts.
If you like writing, perhaps create a blog, or write on one of the blogging sites such as medium. Alternatively you can submit articles on LinkedIn and share them there. Sharing your own or other people’s great work on twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit is always a good start. Had you thought of submitting to speak at conferences? It all boils down to this: share what you have learned with others.
Closer to home, if you are part of a Scrum Master team at work, there are other ways to contribute there. Try setting up a video learning session: watch a video together and then have a discussion about what you each think about it. The same idea works really well for a book club too. In both cases, hearing how other people’s experience of the same event differs from your own can be eye-opening and so, educational too.
At this stage in your learning it is time to find a mentor – that is, find someone who is currently doing something you want to be doing. Whilst I stand by this advice, have you thought that it would be great if you became a mentor too?
Other Scrum Masters who are earlier on in their journey need you. You need them too. Your journal will help you remember how you used to think, what you used to know, and what you have learned. Seeing these similar learnings through another person’s eyes will give you a great depth of perspective.
Giving back to a community that has helped you in the past is just another way to be part of that community. In the much quoted Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs, he identifies ‘belonging to a community’ as a distinct stage. The next stage Maslow identifies after that, is having the esteem inferred by being respected within that community.
If contributing as I have outlined it above feels daunting, start small, and work up. You can take as long as you like, just so long as you are moving forward 🙂