BLOG: Scrum and your Winning Team

In New Zealand, rugby is more than a sport. It’s a national obsession where the mood of an entire country can be affected by a win or loss from the All Blacks team.

BLOG: Scrum and your Winning Team

The passion which with the All Blacks play has also influenced another type of scrum outside of the rugby field, with the term “Scrum Master” being coined after daily viewings of their play.

What is Scrum?

Scrum started as an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing product development, and is based in Japanese thought and practice. First described by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in the "New New Product Development Game",  Scrum methodology was further developed by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaeber and is today widely applied. Though there has been some criticism of Scrum (most notably that it targets Outputs over Outcomes), the book “Scrum” by Jeff Sutherland is a very interesting read. He states that he used to show a video of the All Blacks getting ready for a game to his original Scrum team: 

“Before every game they perform the Maori warrior ceremony of the haka. The haka is a warrior dance that charges up people about to go into battle. While watching it, you can almost see the energy come out of each player and coalesce into a greater whole...They’re invoking a warrior spirit that does not accept defeat or dismay.”

That first scrum team investigated how they could be a brilliant team like the All Blacks. Scrum sets up the right framework and incentives for people to have the freedom, respect and authority to do what needs to be done.

Happiness is the new black

Happy people do better across the board - at home, work and in life. Happiness is a predictive measure of success, not an outcome. Small improvements can have a large impact, changing the world through building a scaffolding of success. Scrum focuses on incremental improvement, or kaizen, making things better every day. Your ability to create your own destiny makes you happy: autonomy, mastery and purpose. The same attributes that make for a great team.

The Process

What is your vision for your business? Define that, then break down the things you need to do to execute that vision. This creates your Backlog. From there, just do it - plan your first sprint and get started. Communication and transparency are key, and for work to flow through cycles of short sprints, three questions asked daily in a short “Standup” meeting keep the momentum: 

1. What did you do yesterday? 

2. What are you doing today? 

3. What obstacles are in the way? 

Multitasking is inefficient - focus on one thing, and deliver it before moving to the next.

Scrum in action

Although Scrum had its origins with software development, the principles can be applied to any work to accelerate human effort and it’s being applied in every field imaginable. Whether you’re developing a new product, or implementing a marketing campaign you can apply a scrum framework: 

  • Pick a product owner, a team and a scrum master.
  • Create and prioritise, then refine and estimate a product backlog 
  • Sprint planning - weekly or fortnightly
  • Make work visible 
  • Daily standup 
  • Sprint review or Demo for what meets the definition of "done" 
  • Sprint retrospective

BOOM! Next sprint cycle begins. It can be an incredibly effective way to reach your goals.

Forward Planning

This is always a good time of the year to be looking ahead and considering ways of doing things better. We’re happy to assist with your strategy - contact us here for more information for your winning team.

Michelle Polglase PracticePlus

As General Manager for PracticePlus, Michelle is inspired by innovation and on a mission to provide the best website solutions for accountants and bookkeepers globally.