In my many years of working in Agile environments, I have seen firsthand how the Scrum Framework assists teams break down problems into smaller, and more manageable parts. Effectively prioritising tasks is also of equal importance. At the end of the day, the customer is our top-priority, and which is why throughout the various stages of the Scrum process, working together in the most efficient, and collaborative manner is paramount if we are to reach our product goal of delivering a high-quality product that meets the needs of the customer.
What Is A Complex Question?
In the general sense, the word ‘complex’ refers to something that is complicated and sensitive. When something is complex, we generally have to sit for quite some time before we actually 1) understand what it is we are looking at, and 2) decide on how best to approach it. Scrum questions can come about in various stages of product development such as when determining or dealing with user needs, technical issues, market trends, or team dynamics.
The Scrum Framework therefore helps to break down these questions and tasks into smaller, and more manageable parts through its pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.
In Scrum, a complex question is typically:
🚀A problem or challenge that has a high level of complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity.
🚀Difficult to solve and understand immediately.
🚀Involves multiple variables, dependencies, or unknown variables.
🚀 Requires attention to detail, inspection, and adaptation.
How Scrum Can Help Teams Answer Complex Questions
Answering the question on how and why Scrum can help us answer complex questions is quite a funny one, as it takes me back to when I myself underwent an intense training course on Scrum with the inspiring Henrik Nyberg, who is held in high regard today as an industry leader in Scrum and the Lean Kanban methodology.
My very first interaction with Henrik started in Stockholm, Sweden, where I stayed for a couple months on a work-trip. And what was surprising to me in my interactions with Henrik, was that he helped me to realise that I had essentially been doing Scrum, even though I was not aware of it.
For example, as a project manager I enjoyed:
🚀 Breaking the rules (respectfully 😉).
🚀 Experimenting with the limits.
🚀 Challenging traditional procedures.
I did this not because I was power hungry or because I was a natural delinquent. Rather, I realised that old-school approaches were not getting me nor my team the results that we desired, and so I really had to sit with my developers and encourage them to get closer to the perspective of the client, and think independently. I therefore always strived to support developers to succeed, and facilitated them in working collaboratively, and determining their own values for what the definition of done looked like to them, rather than me standing as the authoritarian and dictating over them.
When I approached project management in this way, we achieved:
🚀 Greater employee satisfaction.
🚀 Increased productivity and quality.
🚀 Strengthened work processes and structure.
🚀 Bumped up revenue and the retention our customers.
Another important moment in my training with Henrik whereby everything just clicked for me, was when he was talking about Scrum, and we were doing a Lego building exercise, which I admit was a lot of fun. I really got a feel for Scrum in action. This was also when the lightbulb just switched on, and I felt a great level of excitement, as I finally had the words and concepts to describe what I had been doing all long.
In this Scrum inspired Lego building exercise, we were divided into groups, whereby each team was given a set of blocks. Each team was also assigned a particular role like a Product Owner, Scrum Master, Developer(s) and so forth. Together we worked to plan, build, and test the model, all within a timeboxed frame.
In this exercise I learned the following inspirational lessons of Scrum:
🚀 Collaboration, communication, and improvement is possible with efficient teamwork.
🚀 Breaking down complex problems is paramount for better management and adaptation to changes of a project.
This excitement jolted me out of my chair, as I finally could declare to the world that I, Oscar Steyf, was not insane, and just couldn’t wait to share this knowledge with the world. We now have the evidence, and concrete proof of its application. Now let’s put it to work!
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Pragmatic Shift is a Scrum Training, Agile Consulting, and Agile Coaching consultancy that specialises in delivering Scrum.Org certified scrum courses, and helping organisations increase their business agility and product development success through agile consulting and coaching.
We firmly believe that a shift to agile is a pragmatic shift. A natural evolution from traditional project management and product management. A proven, reliable, and resilient framework for addressing compelling problems and developing complex solutions.
Over a decade’s worth of experience as an agile practitioner, agile consultant, agile coach, and scrum trainer informs our pragmatic approach to change. Agile dogma has no value in the context of product development or organisational change.
Instead, we look to start where you are, work with what you have, and make meaningful interventions that align with the objectives you are trying to achieve.
Progress over perfection.
If this sounds like a pragmatic solution to you, visit the following pages for more information.
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