Skip to main content

4 Dysfunctional Behaviors and Scrum Framework

In "4 Behaviors That Can Save or Destroy a Project" blog post, I described four behavior which they can impact a project delivery time, quality and cost. These behaviors are: Student Syndrome, No Early Work Transfers, Parkinson's Law, Polychronicity. However, project management frameworks such as Scrum provides simple and effective tools and techniques to deal with these type of behaviors. Such tools and techniques are: Time-boxing, Volunteerism, Continues Self-Inspection, Transparency, Continues ordering (prioritization) and Team Estimation.

Everything in Scrum framework is time-boxed. Every meeting is time-boxed, every sprint or iteration is time-boxed. There is no deadline, but there are many time-boxes! Teams using time-boxing are way more productive than teams using deadlines. There is a shift in mindset from "We need to work hard to meet our deadline" to "How much we can get done in the given time". This is very basic but very powerful change in mind set.
At the start of planning in Scrum, team tries to evaluate their productivity by looking into their past performance and the environment they work in and skill sets they have (Velocity), and then they decide how much they can accomplish in a time-boxed period, they also decide what is the duration of that time-boxed.

Teams, who use time-boxed, look at things with more accountability and with a scenes of ownership. They decide what they can get done within a specific period of time and then they commit to it. Teams who have deadlines are always disagree with deadlines as they do not see the ownership and self-commitment.

Daily Stand up meetings in Scrum is a way of self-inspection. It allows every team member to share his/her accomplishments, plans and obstacles on daily bases with other team members (and sometimes with product owner and customer) in full transparency. If a task is close to be completed then others will know and will act (avoiding No-Early-Work-Transfer). If one shares his/her plan and accomplishments on daily bases with others who do the same thing with him/her, then such individual will not be trapped in Student Syndrome. Imagine a class of students who must share their exam preparation works and questions/obstacles with other classmates and teacher on daily bases until the exam day, I guaranteeing you that everybody will get an average of B if not A+!

Team shares their progress to whoever is interested, they usually put them on a wall (virtually or physically). They review it on daily bases and make adjustment if necessary. Such transparency give ownership and responsibility to team members and as result high motivation.

When you combine such simple techniques of Time-boxing, Volunteerism, Continues Self-Inspection, Transparency, Continues ordering (prioritization) and Team Estimation that Scrum provides then you have a team that never falls in to the trap of the four dysfunctional behavior. Although it may take some time for the team/organization to reach to such maturity level. The Good news is that, tools are there and path is clear!

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Escalate, Escalate, Escalate!

What is escalation at organizations? Is it a way to solve problems? Is it a way to report things? Is it a way to put more pressure? Is it a CYA technique? What is it? How do you use it at your organization? How other colleagues of yours use escalation? Really, think about it and observe.

At IT service companies, leadership measures the performance of IT Help Desk by number of escalated work items over a period of time. The less escalation the better. The reasons are simple:

It is cheaper for companies if an IT Help Desk Specialist resolves an issue than an experienced technical specialist at one or two level higher. This is simple math, one gets $X and the other get $X*2And when client gets result fast, he/she will be happier. So, less escalation equals happier client in IT Services. Client raise an issue, IT Help Desk Specialist resolve it, BOOM, Next!

At organizations, It is amazing (sadly) to see how much lower level managers escalate problems, that they and their fellows can resol…

DAD Inception Phase Workshop Agenda

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) realised the reality of the projects and introduced back phases to Agile community. Whoever works in a project based company, especially a project based company where projects are usually less than one year in length and each are for different clients, understands the reality of Agile in such environment. When you start working on a new project for a new client, it is essential to go through a phase that you get to know each other better, to understand the business purpose of the project, to understand the scope of the project, to know what are the high level architecture and what technologies are going to be used and who is the initial team, and if funding is available and also when things must be delivered and to whom.
In answering these questions you may need to meet with different people, run couple of workshops and brainstorming sessions. And this is called Inception Phase. As DAD is more like a goal oriented decision framework and not a prescrip…

Moving from Basic DAD Scrum Based LifeCycle to Continues Delivery (Kanban Based) Lifecycle

I was thinking what the title of this blog post could be, I had couple of options to select from and decided to use a title that uses Disciplined Agile (DA 2.0) Lifecycle. Other options for titles were: Moving From Scrum to KanbanFrom High Performing Scrum Teams to Hyper Performing Kanban  The bottom line is that at some point you may want to move away from Time boxes to a flow of work and service oriented teams and improve performance and throughput without massive and sudden organisational change.  As always, I only share my experience and this may not apply to all situations, context is important. 
Another reason that I selected “Moving from Basic DAD Scrum Based LifeCycle to Continues Delivery (Kanban Based) Lifecycle” as the title, was that for many it is a question mark how to navigate through DAD life cycles. and I think this blog post could be one of the ways to navigate. 
Context: A Delivery Team started with Type A Scrum with 2 weeks Sprints. After a while, they deploy their …