SLIDE21 Blog

Why Mommies Make Great Scrum Masters

Who was it who said that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world?  This might be a slight exaggeration. I say slight.  As a former stay-at-home mother I can certainly attest that there are few things in life more daunting than an enraged two year old with EXPECTATIONS that are not being met.

 I have run two half marathons and I defended my MA thesis to a room full of formidable scholars who for quite some time were not entirely convinced of my arguments, but nothing ever came close to MY TODDLER IN A MOOD WITH THE HICCUPS PAST HER BEDTIME.

Here is why, as I lead up to writing my SMC exam, I trust that those years will have prepared me thoroughly and effectively for handling life the Scrum way.

Empirical Process Control

Recall that transparency, inspectoion and adaptation are required here.  Not much is more transparent (and less in need of close inspection) than, say, a lost tooth in the grocery store on a quiet  Saturday morning which is followed by a bleeding episode on a new white shirt, or a tantrum in the dentist’s office from an indignant tween who is not impressed with the news that two teeth need to be removed.  Mother has no choice but to adapt. Wine is good. Selling said child on Kijiji is also a viable option in a pinch. So is crying in the bathroom, the trusted remedy for all harried mothers everywhere since God invented bathrooms.


This allows for greater self-motivation, a sense of responsibility and ownership, and facilitates faster decision-making on the team.  So, for instance, when neither parent has slept for ELEVEN SOLID MONTHS, the self-organized household is able to continue to run somewhat normally, and by that I mean that people are able to say words and wear pants. Also, when you realize that not all of the children who belong in the house are currently accounted for at the same time as you discover your cell phone in the javexing sink and a small chemical fire starting on the stove, you and your partner are able to decide together which catastrophe needs the most immediate attention.


Mamas need to stick together.  Extensive collaboration takes place in the park, at kitchen tables, and on the ever-important meeting surface, the family room floor.  Here mothers liaise with each other to validate their deliverables and ensure their stakeholders (bambinos) can be satisfied. They are aware of each other’s work, they articulate or partition the work into units (you watch this child, I’ll give you my clothing for a three year old so you can save money on your budget), and they engage in appropriation, whereby all the space-age technological devices available for baby-handling (breast pumps that steer cars, baby monitors that can scramble NASA code) are adapted for their own uses.  Hubby is also a useful collaborator, since occasionally baby can projectile vomit onto HIM instead, leaving Mom free to discover that she hasn’t shaved her legs in seven weeks.

Value Based Prioritization

Maximum business value needs to be delivered in the shortest possible time span.  This means that a furious infant needs to be fed FIVE MINUTES ago, cheese must be cubed and not sliced because DUH, and laundry must be done today because, like, you said you would do it yesterday Mommy and I need some clothes, dude. Here a good servant leader refrains from losing her mind over the disrespect of being called “dude” and carries on with the broader vision in mind, which is to launch said child into the world as a productive citizen having only been grounded for half her teenage years.  In other words, mothers carefully pick their battles, based on what delivers most value. Trying to teach your child to take more responsibility? Don’t complain when she cleans her hockey skates off with your new and expensive monogrammed white face cloths. It’s the principle of the thing that matters most.


This means that each activity or process is assigned a specific and fixed amount of time.  So when an infant is first home from the hospital, Mom needs to get eight hours of sleep in ninety minutes, since that is about all her newborn cherub will sleep before said cherub wakes up and wants to party.  Infants party like rockstars and drunken undergraduates. True story. Meals need to be made in seven minutes, and a week long vacation needs to happen in the amount of time it takes to read People magazine while sitting against your locked bathroom door.  Not one second more is ever possible, and so this practice remains critical, always.

As children tend to do, most all of them grow up.  The screaming infant who leaves Mom crying in the hallway, convinced she will be the first mother in history to die of exhaustion turns into a walking, talking human with a favourite colour and a playlist on her iPad.  The young mother who wonders what in the world the hospital is doing letting her go home ALL BY HERSELF TO TAKE CARE OF AN INFANT DO THEY UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S AN ACTUAL BABY handles a medical emergency or three, cools a fever, follows her instincts, and realizes her kids are not perfect and neither is she but they are growing and developing, changing every day, just like we all do. And just maybe she, and her children, will be okay after all.

Here at SLIDE21, our ShuHaRi program will get your team to superior performance through training, Agile and Scrum certification, and ongoing coaching and business intelligence. If you have what it takes to remember where your baby lost his blankie and to keep your cool when a sippy cup gets hurled at your head while you are already swearing under your breath at rush hour traffic, you can definitely handle corporate project management.  

Click here to learn more.

You Might Be Interested In