Cartoon from Amund Tveit's Blog
Brain research on rats suggests that voluntary pressure in the form of audacious goals taken on by high performance teams makes them produce more neuron stem cells, rewire the brain, and become smarter. Involuntary pressure, often seen on waterfall teams, may reduce stem cell production and make employees stupider. People should abandon teams on death marches as it is not healthy for them and will decrease brain function.
Many studies show this phenomenon. A recent study in the May 2008 issue of Psychological Science showed that people who were not empowered lost cognitive function.
Here is the most recent study on how human bosses make employees dumber, sent to me by the head of OpenView Labs, a venture capital group using Scrum to run investment operations.
22 May 2008
From The Economist print edition