Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory and SCRUM

June 23, 2017

Maslow (1943) presented a need hierarchy which recognizes that different people are at different levels in their needs. Usually people start out looking for physiological needs and then progressively move up the needs hierarchy.

To be successful, a Scrum Team needs both core and non-core team members who have reached the esteem or self-actualization levels. The concept of self-organizing teams, which is a key principle in Scrum, requires team members to be self-motivated, and to participate and contribute fully towards meeting the project goals.

As a leader, the Scrum Master needs to understand where each person on the team is relative to the pyramid. This understanding will help to determine the best approach in motivating each individual.

Additionally, everyone fluctuates up and down the levels in the needs hierarchy throughout life due to their own motivation and efforts to move up the hierarchy or sometimes due to factors beyond their control that may push them down. The Scrum Master’s goal is to work with individuals on the team to build their skills and knowledge and help them move up the needs hierarchy. This support results in a team that consists of individuals who are motivated and strong contributors to the project and to the organization as a whole.


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