In the past month(s), I’ve been recording a hobby project. I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a spoken dutch version of the Scrum Guide for a while but never got started… Stuff seemed to always get in the way. So when I learned that the official Scrum Guide was being updated, and not just a little, but fully rewritten, I decided to commit to this project.

Even though the Scrum Guide 2020 got shorter (from 19 to 13 pages), I feared that approaching this in a big bang release style would get in the way of delivery. I also saw value in early feedback to my speaking style and technical quality of the recording, so I decided to chop the process up in four releases. This had the additional benefit of creating material for the recently launched Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast.

I was lucky to have the written translation on hand, so I could focus on the reading/speaking process without having to worry about the translations. the only trouble I had was which words to keep in english pronunciation and which to speak in the dutch pronunciation. For instance Product is spelled the same, but pronounced differently: /ˈprɑː.dʌkt/ (US) versus /proˈdʏkt/ (NL). There may be some subtle inconsistencies there.

So this spoken version of the Dutch Scrum Guide (Scrum Gids 2020) was created incrementally and iteratively. I recorded small parts at a time and accepted a small overhead of packaging, recording and rendering extra parts to be able to release them as Podcast episodes. The added benefit was to learn much more about the software (I used Audacity for Mac) and how to set up the equipment to prevent most noise disturbances (although a ticking clock may be heard in some parts, I decided that was good enough for the first release). I even got to experiment with breathing styles. I learned that inhaling through my nose seems to generate less noticeable breathing sounds, but it is hard to change the habit of mouth breathing, especially in flu season.

By now, the process is done and the full audio is published on Scrumfacilitators.nl and linked from the official overview of translations at Scrumguides.org. I’ve even received a first bug report and deployed a fix. So in many respects, this is just like many valuable deliveries we seek to make using Scrum. The only difference here (and why I did not use Scrum) is that I am a team of one. It can also be argued that this product is not complex but complicated. I leave this to your own contemplation.

Some ‘Scrum’ principles that I did apply:

  • Seek fast and early feedback to inspect & adapt– in Scrum through releasing as often as valuable (during Sprint, every Sprint, every two Sprints, etc) – in this project by releasing audio in small, coherent potentially valuable chucks (based on sections of the Guide);
  • Raise transparency as high as possible – in Scrum through having a Product Backlog, stakeholder collaboration by Product Owner and the rest of the Scrum Team during Sprint Review and the Sprint – in this project by publishing each step in the process on Github (publicly) and inviting feedback explicitly in every communication, like Podcast introductions & written release notes;
  • Scrum Values: courage in releasing ‘good enough’ (to get that fast feedback), commitment to finishing the project and weekly releasing of episodes/parts, focus by not having multiple of these projects going (not working on other blogs and content aside from the SG2020 dutch meetup), respect for the listener by trying to create small valuable chunks that are easy to listen to, openness in the process through the public Github and providing context for the parts in the Podcast notes.

Big thanks go to Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland for creating and maintaining the Scrum Guide. I am also grateful to Ruud Rietveld and co for creating the Dutch written translation of the Scrum guide 2020 and encouraging me to record this audio version. Last but not least all Scrum Facilitators for being supportive and providing spots of feedback during development, and the occasional laugh upon reviewing the bug that was found (looking at you Ziryan).

This is a so called published draft article. Published draft are blogs and other content that are not fully finished yet, but can deliver some value to a reader. A while back I’ve decided to see no reason to keep content in draft until I got round to polishing it. This post may lack images, links and other valuable embellishments to the story. If you do read this article and cannot find mentioned stuff yourself or you have feedback or other additions, please do comment and I will gladly send you additional info or update the post. Cheers!

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