I have had trouble with scrum meetings during my internship due to my anxiety. Now, I have started on my full time job and my team is going to start scrum meetings from tomorrow. I would like to get some suggestions on how I can get over my anxiety and use the opportunity to my advantage.

Off the top of my head, these are some of the things I felt made me anxious

  1. Sometimes, I had the same update as the previous day as I have been stuck as I spent overly long time struggling with an issue or bug but which would have been trivial had I asked for help

  2. I generally feel anxious and lose breath when I talk in meetings. This makes matters worse for me.

  3. My code went back and forth through large number of code reviews which I found very painful and embarrassing to update about. But I think I have learnt from this experience as I feel I am writing cleaner code now.

It would be great if I could get some advise on some steps I could take to make myself ready to face this thing . Thanks

  • I came here to ask the same question. It's amazing that I wanted to write exactly the same points as you wrote. It would be great if you update me as how things went for you after all and how you handled it. Thanks! – Jack Twain Sep 2 '15 at 19:31
  • For god's sake how is this question a duplicate for that question?! They are totally different!!! This question is asking how to overcome his anxiety during a scrum meeting while that question was addressing how to communicate his anxiety to his boss!!! – Jack Twain Sep 2 '15 at 19:44
  • hey @JackTwain, the first answer below made a lot of sense to me . I am a long way from handling all the aforementioned issues, but couple of things I started doing that I think are helping me out are, I have been spending more time on reading tech books and blogs to better my understanding of design of programs in general. And another thing, before I jump into solving a problem, I started talking to bunch of people beforehand that might give me perspective or sometimes even a solution that I never considered. I think these are good start. But , I am still a beginner, long way to go. – quirkystack Sep 4 '15 at 18:59

Sure! First of all, realize that everyone there has the same challenges. The transparency of a scrum-type organization can be a big change for a lot of people, and it can be intimidating to feel like everyone has a direct lens into what you're doing. But take heart, the reason for it is not to push blame onto people, but to give everyone on the team the opportunity to ask for help and work together to achieve the team's goals.

  1. If you had the same update as the previous day because you were struggling with something, you should have called it out as a blocker. You can then have a discussion about whether you should get help and get unblocked, or whether in the interest of learning you should struggle through it and learn to learn. Don't fear, no one's putting the future of their company in the hands of an intern, so slipping a bit is not a problem. If you take the initiative to bring it up and offer the options, you will have more control over the situation and feel less tense - and come off better to your workgroup.

  2. Well, social anxiety and/or being super introverted is a problem. Besides "look into self help books and a good shrink," (I might suggest How To Win Friends and Influence People as a good starter) I'd just say that a scrum meeting is the absolute lowest level of group interaction and a great place to try out your training wheels - if you want to have a long and fruitful career you'll eventually need to be able to communicate in larger and more formal settings. This is a great place to learn - just like you're learning the tech.

  3. Yeah, that's being new - the general expectation is that Comp Sci curriculums leave people writing code no sane person would push into production. It's why internships are so valuable! As long as you continue to learn and improve, you should be fine (unless you are at one of those "we only hire the prodigies" places, but context makes me think that's not the case).

Relax and don't worry. This is the process of learning both technology and how to interact in the workplace. You're not expected to be great at either yet, you're just getting started. Look at each of these things as an engineering problem to solve (you can engineer yourself, too). All your teammates have the same thoughts and feelings you do, and worries about "people thinking my code is stupid" or whatnot. The scrum process is designed to help you all reinforce each other to remove those negative emotions and be able to move forward and improve constructively.

When I was a kid I was a super introvert, and panicked when put on stage at our school spelling bee. But that's something I identified as an impediment to my success and worked on over time, and I just got back from giving a keynote address to something on the order of 2000 people at an industry convention. So keep plugging away, and you'll get better.

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I stopped being afraid of speaking in public when I stopped giving a damn about looking ridiculous, silly, stupid or worse. This totally unchained my attitude and I was able to concentrate on the business at hand, which is to convey the information I wanted to convey, and take care of any questions that might be asked.

I asked myself what's the worst that could happen to me if I spoke in public and screwed up in front of everybody? If you guessed "nothing", then you guessed the right answer.

From the day I was little, Fear was the best friend I ever had and my most loyal companion, who never left my side when everybody else did and who looked out for me countless times. But Fear is a well meaning counselor who can give lousy advice. I listen closely and respectfully to Fear, but I don't let it run my life. Because I have a brain, a heart. And guts. And most of all, because I am anal :) And because friends don't let friends run each other's lives :)

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