Channel Your Inner Tim Gunn

I don’t always watch Project Runway, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis I watch Tim Gunn. In terms of a competition show, it’s easy to see why it’s appealing – the fashionable hopefuls take on a new challenge with 30 minutes to design and at max 2 days to make the thing.

Yes, people get kicked off the island (it’s Manhattan!), people get immunity each challenge, people get prizes, and only 1 lucky winner gets to be called the next America’s Top Model American Idol Food Truck Foodie Trucker Apprentice Top Designer. So yes, there’s pressure, and people losing their cool.

And that’s where Tim Gunn comes in.

What makes this show different is that there’s this impartial person who’s EVERYBODY’S BUDDY – he’s not a judge (although, with the ‘Tim Gunn Save’, he can veto one elimination per season now), he’s a mentor. He’ll walk into the work room and work the room, going from bench to bench, asking each designer how they’re doing, hearing out his/her design, and giving feedback, be it technical, aesthetic, or emotional.

He’ll give hugs AND he’ll give tough love. He’ll give his opinion AND he’ll tell you to show the judges who you really are. Be authentic? We need to hear more of that message! Signature phrase? Make it work! TIM GUNN FOR PRESIDENT!

And that’s what Tim Gunn does.

And that’s what a ScrumMaster does.

She gives hugs AND she gives tough love. She gives her opinion AND she tells you to show the Product Owner who you really are. Make it work!

(Oh boy… and now to apply this to ScrumOfOne…) And this is what I do.

I give myself hugs AND I give myself tough love. I give me my opinion AND I tell myself to show me who I really am. Make it work!

Yes, you’re right – that doesn’t translate as cleanly, and maybe it’s partially because the notion of coaching yourself is inherently paradoxical. Balancing what you want (“More!” says the Product Owner) and what you need (“Less!” says the ScrumMaster) is why there are two different people taking on these forces in a normal Scrum team. This echos the struggle of an artist: More! / the drive to keep working on it until it is perfect, versus Less! / the need to stop working on it and then share it with the world. So, yes, you’re right – it’s not easy.

And that’s why I forgive myself when I fall off what feels like a ScrumOfOne Wagon. Moving, getting married, settling into a new home, plowing through a couple of Ruby books, getting sick a couple of times, closing out the storage unit, all in a couple of months, means I’ve been way more focused on the ‘now’, and barely looking into the ‘next’ / short-term future.

So this is how I forgive myself for falling off the ScrumOfOne Wagon… by writing a blog post about forgiving myself. How self-serving. (Kinda like this whole blog. There. I said it.)

And this is where my inner Tim Gunn comes in.

I give myself a hug.

Thanks, me.

(I’m welcome. Now pull myself together and stop talking to myself. Make it work!)