New to Scrum? From Individuals to Team, the Persistent Role of Design, and Staffing Scrum Roles


Is your team fairly new to Scrum? Construx Senior Fellow Earl Beede and Mark Griffin discuss specific strategies and concepts that will help your first Scrum efforts be successful.

Learn about the shift in mind-set from individual contributors to a true team dynamic in which throughput is far more important than being busy in parallel activities. You don’t need to be good at everything, but you need to be able to help out on anything, rather than focus only on your specialty. Helping others finish work in process—countering the common reality of having lots of things started but nothing finished—helps lowers various kinds of risk related to isolated/stuck team members, team members leaving, and new team members being onboarded. And team-driven design and decision-making is better.

Earl and Mark discuss the J-curve that describes a team’s performance and productivity in a situation of change, such as when it’s beginning to use Scrum. Business pressures aren’t put on pause, so what’s a good approach? First, you don’t need to go fully Scrum immediately. Also, you need 3­–5 cycles to learn a new process, so the sprint retrospective is crucial in this process.

The guys also discuss the persistent role of design in Agile, which can be a surprise for new Scrum teams. High-level decisions have to be made before a team kicks off, and low-level design continues during sprint planning. And the episode ends with a discussion of staffing Scrum roles. The Product Owner works the business, the Development Team works the product, and the Scrum Master works the process. Which of these are crucial if you can’t staff all of them?