Scrum and High Performance teams

January 7, 2014

In the field of organization behavior, the notion of the high-performing team has been discussed. Many of today’s Customers need rapidly adapting development services. High-performing teams are the key to providing that service. A mature high-performing team is a united unit, not merely a throng of individuals. While such teams usually emerge by chance; a high-performing team can also be deliberately molded with an understanding of team member requirements in mind. Scrum framework which brings out the truly necessary essentials, can help with achieving this. While Scrum Framework increases the chances of such a team forming, it is not a necessary or sufficient condition for high-performing teams.

Certain enablers can herald formation of high-performing teams: Some of them come in the form of Human resource practices for the organization. However, they regularly get over-complicated or misapplied. Scrum team is often encumbered with overwhelming info, which cripples the ability to think clearly. The Scrum Core team members become burdened by esoteric language, process, principles or practices that clutter their minds and focus. Great Scrum Masters don’t strictly enforce working hours. What they do enforce is presence on the Daily Standups- everyone on a given team has to be there and there are penalties for being late. Daily Standups” instil discipline by requiring a fifteen-minute daily meeting.

Classic environmental enablers in Scrum include collocated teams, team rooms/war rooms, visible charts, and white boards. By being responsible for this environment, a great Scrum Master can help in creating high-performing teams that effectively address business’ needs. The product backlog is A Great Scrum Master’s best source of reality to give feedback as to whether they are making the right decisions and having the right conversations. With conversations a Great Scrum Masters can help the Scrum Team detect if understanding is there. Scrum advocates that the teams should have the freedom to decide how they will deliver the User Stories they committed to during the sprint planning.

High performing teams collaborate by visibility. With visible product backlog or a Scrumboard, Stakeholders see where effort is being applied. When a Product Owner can see where to apply effort, the Scrum Team members work together and do not flounder. In projects, much of the work is not easily visible and therefore self-organization is necessary. With visible work efforts Great Scrum Masters improve the odds that each conversation will be the right one and make reporting on team progress easy.

The Product Owner also has to balance between discipline and freedom, monitoring and separating what is crucial from what is incidental and hence can be delegated to the team. Great Product Owners maintain a disciplined process but allow freedom, both in choice of tools, rules, and in adding project-specific guidelines to the organization’s universal standards. Conversation can be setup by formal or informal processes language agreements, team location, and more. High-performing teams are basic assets that individuals, businesses, and organizations need to help them thrive. This approach; strictly enforces a few key things; be relaxed on others gives the discipline Scrum needs but allows the freedom Scrum members crave. Achieving this balance should be part of good practice on any Scrum team.


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