Self-Organization: The Secret Sauce for Improving your Scrum Team

Filed under Agile | Posted by PMStudent

scrumDr. Jeff Sutherland is one of the co-creators of the Scrum software development process. He and Ken Schwaber invented Scrum in 1993. Since then he has worked with many software companies and IT organizations to extend and enhance this process.

I’ll add a bit below about the Nokia Test and Shock Therapy, but you’ll have to watch the video for the rest.


Doing Scrum, but….

The Nokia Test by Bas Vodde

  • Fixed iteration 4 weeks or less
  • Software is deployed each iteration
  • Agile specification – Good user stories tied to specifications as needed
  • Product owner who motivates team
  • Product backlog – Product Owner can measure ROI based on real revenue, cost per story point, or other metrics
  • Estimate error < 10%
  • Burndown only burns down when story is done, team knows velocity, Product Owner release plan based on known velocity
  • No one disrupting team, only Scrum roles
  • Team is in hyperproductive state

Shock Therapy

Patterning by total immersion at Pivotal Labs. ?In the video Jeff talks about a venture capital firm he works with who send teams from

new companies they fund to Pivotal Labs for 3 weeks. ?There they are fully immersed in one-week Scrums. ?This sounds to me like a powerful approach for getting buy-in at all levels of the organization since the venture capitalists have influence over management (gave the directive to implement scrum) and the teams who go through the training are ready to go when they get back to home base, and share the process with the rest of the company.

Note that this only works if you have an experienced person or team leading the change. ?Trying to do this without experience will not work. ?Gave an example of successive small changes to transition a team to SCRUM over 6 months by identifying pain points along the way, picking out the piece of Scrum that would address it.

Watch the video for more. I’m not sure I completely understood the parts about “The Cosmic Stopping Problem” or “Punctuated Equilibrium” in Scrum. Perhaps someone can help me understand his take on these points.