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Business Craftsmanship: an Approach for Transforming Knowledge Work

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In September 2012 Tobias Mayer, “Agile explorer, agitator, and right-brain thinker”, started Business Craftsmanship: an organizational development and transformation approach to teach and apply ideas from Agile software development to any knowledge work context:

I have adopted the foundational principles and values inherent in the Agile way of working and combined them with my own life and career experiences to build a transformative and human-centric framework which I am now using with great enjoyment to guide whole organizations towards a new way of being.

Business Craftsmanship embraces the fundamental purpose of Scrum: 

It provides space for an organization to understand why this approach may be valuable, before addressing what to do, or how to do it—the usual focus of an Agile adoption. Beginning with a clear sense of purpose, both from a business perspective and for each individual a personal one, opens the possibility to create an engaged workforce that is able to figure out the what and the how for themselves.

In the first months, several posts have been published by Tobias. The blog post “Core Values” takes a critical look at Scrum values:

The five values called out by the writers of the original Scrum book are focus, courage, openness, commitment and respect. Aside from courage, which I agree is a core value, the rest seem to miss the point of a value basis, which is to establish a way of being, independent of any action.

Tobias continues to describe what he believes the core values should be for a healthy community to emerge: 

    1. Courage — seek your edge; speak from your heart
    2. Trust — lead from a place of faith, not suspicion; follow likewise
    3. Congruency — act with integrity, so your actions and your feelings are always in alignment
    4. Humility — acknowledge your uniqueness, celebrate your strengths, yet strive to be a worker amongst workers
    5. Service — Be alert to the needs of others; ask for and offer help in equal proportion, for service is in the receiving as much as in the giving

The Agile Manifesto states “We value individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. The blog post “In Praise of Process” explains how Scrum can help you to balance between people and processes.

Scrum is a framework of values, principles and meta-practices, that when embraced will allow a process to emerge that is suited to the context—to the people, products, interactions, and rhythms of the organization.

We already have process. It won’t go away. What we need is better process. And we need to value process equally with people and interactions—each depends on the other.

The blog Business Craftsmanship continues the work that Tobias has done over the past seven years under the name of Agile Thinking and Agile Anarchy. He was previously interviewed on InfoQ in “Tobias Mayer on Scrum Alliance”.

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