One quick diversion before diving into our big topic. We actually read many of the books we prescribed on our Summer Reading List, and gleaned many insights in the process. One book that snuck onto the reading list, though, fueled this week’s topic. A “fad” that has swept through the technology space over the past decade and a half is “agile development” or “scrum”. It’s no longer a fad; it’s permeated many businesses as a core philosophy. The man who really started the movement, Jeff Sutherland, published a book in 2014, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, that you may want to consider as a guide to enhance your team’s business productivity. Sutherland illustrates time and time again how scrum is being used to improve operations and productivity (and results and revenue!).
As a preview, we have outlined a brief introduction to scrum’s core planning concepts, hopefully to hook you enough to check it out and see how it can improve your business productivity.
K.I.S.S. Keep it simple… Avoid Occam’s Razor on your priorities – just list out the things you need to do and rank them by importance. It may be hard to tell, but do the best you can. No assignment, just order. At this point, don’t worry about ‘degree of difficulty’ – just potential impact on our business.
Next, review your list and assign points, using that ‘degree of difficulty’. Some teams use T-shirt sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL) to keep it friendly and manageable, and others rely on the Fibonacci Sequence (where each number is the sum of the previous two): 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc. The latter approach may work well if you have a gargantuan list with a wide range of sizes.
There Is No I in Team
One person should do it alone – it’s best to have your team all weigh in with their points. One person may think something is easy (1) and another knows more about the implications under the hood and rank it difficult (55). You’ll let them discuss any wide-ranging items until they can settle on a number. For example, the ‘1’ may know a shortcut. Or the ’55’ may know “where the bodies are buried” in the project and is worried about the ramifications.
Put It Together
So to decide what to work on next, you’ll use the combination of priority and degree of difficulty to decide what you can realistically accomplish. If you have two weeks before the next trade show, that’s your timeline. How much at the top of the list looks achievable?
Quick Tip on Business Productivity
We warned you! The books on scrum give a much more detailed description of the process, so check one out. You’ll be amazed at the results – there are countless examples of scrum’s impact, from house remodeling to government services to car companies. We just wanted to tease you with the idea so you could delve in yourself. Hopefully you can feel the impact of scrum on your business productivity in short order.