False Myth – “Scrum teams need to be mature”

On Tobias critical statement about Jeff Sutherlands about Shock Therapy I found:

Kripanidhi Says: Agile, Scrum, XP are all based on a very high discipline(self discipline)paradigms. These Values based, Self-organizing, Empirical Process driven Team Approaches need a very high team maturity. That’s why Kent Beck is now calling it “Responsible Development” – tied with Responsibility, Accountability and Transparency.

Wrong! Have you every played a team sport – like basketball or football. Kids can play it! They might not know every cool tactical maneuver like the professionals but they are engaged. They follow the rules and they do a lot to be successful. This myth about mature teams is so wrong as the astonishing of managers BIG that people want to work, want to achieve something when they are allowed to work in a way they want to do it.

A lot of people have lost the basic rules of behavior of society at work: comming late, be not respectful, being lazy … not because the are that way but because it is their defence mechanism to survive dysfunctional organizations.

3 responses to “False Myth – “Scrum teams need to be mature”

  1. I agree with you completely on your comments.

    By “maturity” I only mean commitment, responsibility, accountability and a respect for the team rules and values. We cannot work with Agile if the team is casual or indifferent to team values. Maturity is more related to ones attitude and not to age. I have seen very young children acting with a very high degree of maturity and have also seen very senior people in corporates demonstrating immaturity.

    May be as you say, the display of immaturity and indiscipline attitude at work by people may stem from what you call ” a defence mechanism to survive dysfunctional organizations”. On this too I fully agree with you again.

  2. I perfectly agree about the maturity part. Luckily, given this maturity is present, anyone can adopt an agile process, or at last have an agile attitude. The only problem is that it is more difficult to get a good product if you have an inexperienced team, as people get a higher degree of freedom than they can manage (as committed as they might be), and can often get lost or at least go astray. This can be solved pairing juniors with experienced people, and this holds true for programmers as well as for team leaders. Isn’t this one of the reasons for which we hire skilled professionals as you two?

  3. Having worked with many teams, tried to introduce Scrum sometimes successful, sometimes not, I wanted to add this bit.

    Scrum-teams do not have to be perfect to start, sometimes programmers think this way, because they were taught that you should have a perfect design before starting to build anything.

    What they do have to have is respect for the other team-members skills and personalities and willingness to take responsibility.

    Unfortunately many organizations in behavior (of course not in words) encourage blaming others and the Teflon attitude where nothing sticks to you. This is just the opposite.

    To start a team successfully you need to create a comfort zone, where the team actually believes that it will be left to do the job and rewarded for results and not for the ability to make sure that nothing sticks to them when s*** flies.

    Then even young teams can outperform those more qualified on paper.

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