How to fix this Team? Diagnosis-1

Lots of people are doing Scrum ok, but not getting the results they should be getting.

So, we want to start this series of blog posts to help with that.

First, it helps to define success, and how much success you want.

Definition of Success

Here’s a definition of success that we like.  Note that Scrum does not prescribe any specific definition of success.

Some elements of success, and some too-quick comments.

  • More fun or happiness

This is what life is about. If you don’t have this, what are you doing?  If you don’t have this, typically you will not retain your people.

If you have this, people will come in more motivated.  They will be more creative and innovative.

  • More for the customers, usually defined as more Business Value

One of the most important laws is: It is more blessed to give than to receive.  Most people understand this, even if only in a childish way. I think most people (Cf. Maslow Hierarchy) want to help people they like in the way that they like to help, eg, a type of product.

Anyway, I am convinced that Purpose is key to motivation.  People are not machines; they have a heart.

Business Value is mostly satisfying the customers, but it also includes good returns for the stakeholders in the organization.

  • We achieve the Mission or Goal

This has to be defined specifically and in some relation to the work. The work achieves the Goal.

  • Higher Velocity

When playing the game of Scrum, one always wants to score higher.  Velocity is one kind of scoring.

Work smarter, not harder.  And Velocity is also a way to manage pressure and stress.

When you add Higher Velocity, you must also add more fun, fewer hours, and higher quality.  Otherwise, the team members will assume a trade-off, and let one of those go (or all three).

  • Fewer hours, for the workers

I almost always see Teams working too many hours.  Work is noble, but: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  We work to live, we do not live to only work.

In any case, after 40 hours, I am convinced any excess is actually a positive waste.  In simple terms, we become stupider.

  • Higher quality

Workers should always complete work with high quality standards.  And in most products, the quality could be higher, and actually delivered more cheaply (“quality is free”).

Higher quality is especially needed if you ask for more Velocity.

  • More innovation or creativity

This is commonly omitted, and should not be.  This is different than business value, although certainly related in the long term.  Perhaps business value is “does it do the function?” and innovation is more “behold the elegance and beauty”.

  • “I never want to leave this Team”

This is more than any one thing above.  Or the sum of them.  It includes “I mostly like my team”.  It includes: “compared to other things in life for me, this has real meaning.”  It includes a decision: “I want to be here”.  It is important.  Nothing can beat a volunteer army. (OK, too simple, but you get the point.)

There are other ways to define success than these.  I would be interested in your reaction.

Each Team Defines Success

Each Team must define its own success.

Other people can talk too.  (Do not talk from power.  Talk as if in their shoes.  Give them a choice. They are not you.)


Next post: More about diagnosis.



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