Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drive-Driven Personality

There was heavy "agile fun" in the last months with all the agilists working close with me. We made lots of wordy jokes like "the goal is the goal", "the way is the way" which became things like "way-driven driving" and nonsense like that. Thinking of all these things all the time made me come to the conclusion of a quite meaningful term I'm going to explain: the Drive-Driven Personality.

"Say what? Drive-driven personality? Yup, right, c'mon, go away and never come back!"

No, really and seriously. It's that easy: Drive-Driven Personality is needed to push changing the world!

Many people just live their lives as is, be it private or professionally. These people may be good, valuable, hard-working thinkers with a quality above the average. Nevertheless these people keep things as they are most of the time. At max they optimize their local environment with smallest influence. But they never will change the world with what they do. They simply do not have the drive to force change.

Drive is not about power - most people do not have vast power to change things with a fingersnip. Usually power is given to people in a local scope only.

Drive is about an inner mental state - a heavy desire to do specific things. It's an inner calling, some kind of mission one has to complete with concentrated passion.

Typical examples of Drive-Driven Personality are writers, painters, artists in general.

Applied to Scrum: everything is quite simple and understandable in scrum. What for do we need Drive-Driven Personality? Jeff Sutherland explains the basic theory of bringing an average waterfall team to be hyperproductive - an initial kind of high-energy is needed to shake and trigger the waterfall team so that it is ready to start the journey. In my opinion this kind of high-energy has to be provided by Drive-Driven Personality. The ScrumMaster has to take care that not only the team but the surrounding organization is ready to start the journey into agility. If you do not possess inner drive to change anything, your attempt to do so will stagnate after a while and will end in keeping a status quo. A Drive-Driven Personality is needed or risk to fail increases.

What for do we need Drive-Driven Personality if our scrum team already moved to a score of 6.4 on the Nokia scale? The team is self-organized, holds retrospectives, and understands how to improve on a regular basis. In this case you need a Drive-Driven ScrumMaster to perform the last hard step bringing the team hyperproductive to a score of 10. There will be impediments to change or remove which are way outside the scope of a scrum team. To change old top-management structures a fearless, Drive-Driven Personality is necessarily needed.

Drive-Driven Personality is what you want for everyone you are working with! Whenever you have to recruit and get people on your team, find out if an applicant is Drive-Driven enough for her job. Avoid working with mediocre skilled people - search a Drive-Driven team and your working paradise is reached.


  1. Marc, thanks for this true and meaningfull words! This encourages me further to do exactly what you propose in the last three sentences.

  2. Steff, thanks for your kind words. I will do a lightning talk on this topic at XP2010 in Trondheim, Norway in June.