J. Sutherland, S. Downey, and B. Granvik, "Shock Therapy: A Bootstrap for a Hyper-Productive Scrum" in Agile 2009, Chicago, 2009.
Jeff will be at Agile 2012 in Dallas and talking about hyperproductivity at 9:30 on Thursday, 16 August.
It occurred to me one day that Scrum Teams are the customers of the Scrum Master. If we don’t already know it, Scrum teaches us that customers of our enterprise don't really know what they want until they have seen it, or at least something to define what they don’t want. So why would we expect Scrum Teams to know how to set up, for example, their Sprint Planning Meetings if they haven't seen a working prototype?
This approach was documented in the Agile 2009 presentation titled “Shock Therapy” (available at http://www.rapidscrum.com/resources.php), coauthored by Jeff Sutherland and Bjorn Granvik.
When I join a team as their Scrum Master, I issue a few non-negotiable rules (gently if possible, firmly if necessary). These rules remain in effect until the team has met three criteria:
- A minimum of 240% increase in Velocity
- They have completed three consecutively successful Sprints
- They have identified a good business reason to begin changing rules
Everyone on the team will attend a Scrum Training session.
I conduct an extremely condensed Introduction to Scrum course and the entire team comes together for a single session. Until everyone has been trained, we won't begin our first Sprint.
Sprints will be one week long.
I justify this by pointing out that there is a reason geneticists study mutations in Fruit Flies instead of Elephants – they want to see the mutations quickly and adapt their studies accordingly. So do I. Teams generally hate this part as much or more than anything else I require of them but I have been able to coax every team into giving me at least four, one-week Sprints as a trial. Here's a favorite exchange of mine that almost always comes up:
Engineer: "But I can't do anything in one week!"
Scott: "Then simple math suggests that you can only do four nothings in a month."
Interestingly, by the time the teams have met the three criteria for changing this rule, only one so far has ever elected to change it.