Most executives who choose to spend time and money introducing Scrum into their organizations misunderstand it to be a delivery technique that helps you get more work from less people in less time with less money.

The most important lesson I learned from Ken Schwaber and Gunther Veerheyen in the Scrum.org PSM and PSPO workshops is that Scrum is an adaptation framework that limits your risk exposure to 30 days or less of payroll, time, money, reputation and goodwill.

Scrum offers at least 6 ways to enable an adaptive and resilient organization…

1.   Sprint Review (Mandatory): To crowd-source the intelligence of stakeholders to identify emerging threats and opportunities and gather ideas to adapt the Product Backlog.

2.   Sprint Retrospective (Mandatory): To crowd-source the intelligence of the Scrum Team to figure out how they can adapt their interactions, processes, tools, practices in the coming Sprint.

3.   Sprint Planning (Mandatory): To crowd-source the intelligence of the Scrum Team to adapt the Sprint Backlog and the Sprint Plan – what the team will be working on in the coming Sprint.

4.   Daily Scrum (Mandatory): To crowd-source the intelligence of the Development Team to adapt the plan every single business day to increase the likelihood of meeting the Sprint Goal.

5.   Sprint (Mandatory): A container of risk-management that challenges organizations to adapt every 30 days or less.

6.   Backlog Refinement (Suggested): Crowd-source the intelligence of the Scrum Team and relevant experts to adapt the Product Backlog Items that the Development Team might be working on in the coming Sprints.

Which of these adaptation opportunities is your organization neglecting the most? How is it impacting your organizational resilience?

  • Did you cancel the retrospective because it is a waste of time?
  • Do you do your Daily Scrum by slack? Or do developers just go through the motions, checking the box until they can get back to real work.
  • Do you get valuable feedback from stakeholders in Sprint Review? Or is it the first time the PO inspects the “Done” Product Backlog Items?
  • Do you neglect Backlog Refinement and just do it in Sprint Planning or just neglect it completely and only find out after the PBI is “done” that developers misunderstood the intent of the PO?
  • Do you leave Sprint Planning without an elevated, unifying Sprint Goal and without a high level plan to achieve it?
  • Do you have Sprints that do not create potentially shippable, “Done” increments and / or do not realize the Sprint Goal?

How effectively is your organization adopting Scrum to enable resilience and adaptation in the face of emerging threats and opportunities? Where will you adapt your Scrum adoption in the next 30 days or less…?