Scrum and Productivity

Hi all –


A reader named David Wylie wrote and commented the following (I’m posting his question here with his permission):


I am new to scrum, and one of the selling points is significantly increase productivity. Have you experienced this, or is it just a different way of managing?


This is an interesting question.  I would say that Scrum can in fact improve productivity, but for complex reasons.  For one, Scrum gives the team a clear and shared focus during the sprint, and that puts pressure on leads and managers to reduce and eliminate distractions.  Another reason is that Scrum, applied properly, tends to increase team cohesion and cause the group to collectively produce more than it did before.


Carelessly applied, Scrum can reduce productivity if its artifacts are used as weapons and if management doesn’t internalize Scrum’s notion of removing features (as opposed to slipping or reducing quality) as the preferred “knob to turn” when things aren’t going as planned.  If leaders & managers can’t accept the idea that some sprint backlog items won’t get completed, that leaves the team with no real knobs left, other than working extra hours or being deceptive about their status – both of which will lead to serious problems.


Over & out!