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Scrumism: “Scrum is Infectious”

So one of the cool things about Scrum is that it is fun to do.  If you are an engineer, you got into the field because you like to build shiny things and see them work.  Scrum lets you concentrate on a small increment, get it done and working, and actually show it off to stakeholders and SEE their reactions.  This is empowering, and a lot more fun that building something and only hearing about how it is received months later (and you have moved onto something else).  The other engineers, who aren’t on Scrum, will see the kind of excitement your development team has, and pick up on the fact that the energy surrounds the whole Scrum approach.  If you get one team running well, other teams will just naturally want to play too.  Stakeholders have more fun in Scrum as well, because they get to watch the software grow and evolve, and they have a part in guiding its creation.  Scrum is infectious.

This is a fun Scrumism, but you knew there had to be a “but” in here somewhere.  One team successfully practicing Scrum doesn’t mean the next team can just take what is working for the first team and replicate it.  Each team has to come up to speed and find their own particular style.  It certainly helps to have other teams successfully running Scrum teams, especially since Management will be getting accustomed to what sorts of metrics naturally emit from the Scrum approach and how to gauge progress and roadmap, but you can’t just write a desk procedure on “How to do Scrum at XYZ Corp”.

I like to “warn” teams that there will be increasing demands on their time from other teams as they get asked about how they are doing Scrum.  This is a happy task, but you actually do have to account for the time to spend introducing and discussing topics with other groups.

Organizations have to resist the urge to take a well-running team and scatter it across the organization to seed other teams.  Better to keep the team – and its known velocity – together and let them be an example by doing.  Use a Scrum of Scrums to share between teams and do the show-and-tell about what teams have found works or doesn’t work for them.

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