How Scrum manages diversity

September 5, 2011 at 8:35 am | Posted in Blogroll, Scrum and agile | 1 Comment

Few weeks back we saw, from the systems perspective, how we can manage diversity at the most appropriate place which is at the point of diversity. Let us now see how Scrum practices apply those ideas to effectively manage the diversity inherent in all human systems.

Let us start with size estimation using planning poker.
Unlike non-Scrum projects where enough details about the requirements are available, Scrum encourages focusing time & efforts on only the high priority requirements to get into the details, because other requirements are lower down the order and can change in future. However, it is necessary to estimate size of such lower order requirements for release planning. Since enough details required for rigorous size estimation are not available, Scrum relies on the collective wisdom of the team. The diverse exposure & experience of the team members helps to bring a rich set of inputs which when shared helps other team members to more accurately & holistically estimate the size.

This approach of making full use of diversity of exposure experience & perspectives at the individual team member level can be seen in all Scrum practices like sprint planning daily Scrum and sprint retrospectives, where collaboration and human interactions are heavily encouraged. This is commonly known but the less obvious application of limiting diversity only to the point of diversity is more important in Scrum.

Scrum with its emphasis on the self-organizing teams and individual interactions gives an impression to a newcomer that it is free for all and role of a team leader is weakened. In reality, it just shifts to more important areas. For example in a non-Scrum project, the project manager spends lot of time in planning the work of its team members as well as monitoring & controlling their actions. With a self-organized team, most of this load is taken off from his shoulders so he can focus on helping them get over their impediments as well as in opening up the bottlenecks. He can concentrate on identifying and supporting them in training needs. He can make sure that each person has the right tools and support for their specific individual needs which may vary from person to person, in the process empowering the individuals as well as the team as a whole. In addition, the Scrum master can take care of standardization at the team & org level to help the team members by avoiding possible reinventing of the wheel.

To summarize, when using Scrum the overall benefit to the members, the team and project can be substantial. The self-organizing teams bring out the full potential of individual diversity. The Scrum master is freed from the work of planning and managing for the team members and can use that time to help & support them with tools and training. He can also ensure that the team & org preferred practices are put to good use.

Your views and inputs are valuable; please share.



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  1. […] najważniejszym, otwartość, szacunek i odwaga. A w zarządzaniu projektami, wykorzystanie Scruma sprzyja pielęgnowaniu różnorodności w zespołach. Warto więc, zerknąć do niego tak, czy […]

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