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Coaching, Coding and Learning By George Evjen
Book Notes from 'Scrum: Doing Twice the work in Half the Time' By Jeff Sutherland

Pop the Happy Bubble

  • One thing that happiness is not - is complacency.
    • Christa Foley - at Zappos : I love coming to work, rather than encouraging you to become complacent, our positive and uplifting culture makes you work harder.
    • They want people who use joy as a driver.
    • That the only route to employee happiness is a sense of fulfillment resulting from an important job done well.
    • Helping them achieve great things.
  • What can companies do to create an atmosphere in which people thrive?
    • Managers can encourage autonomy by letting people make their own decisions about their job.
    • Managers should have zero tolerance for incivility and never allow an employee to poison corporate culture through abuse or disrespect.
  • They don’t realize that continuous improvement means just that, it never ever stops.
  • Team might be doing all the things Scrum teaches - prioritization, single-tasking, cross-functionality, review rituals - but they have stopped improving.
  • So how do you pop the bubble before your players embarrass themselves on live tv.
    • The first step is to be aware of the problem.
    • Which is why we measure velocity every sprint.
  • The Wise Fool
    • Is the person who asks uncomfortable questions or raises uncomfortable truths.
  • There are other ways of popping the happy bubble
    • Bring in new blood and management intervention.
  • With Scrum everything is transparent - how much the team is producing, the quality of their work, how happy the customer is.


Happy Today - Happy Tomorrow

  • Harvard professor - asks people what they're doing today makes them happy  and whether it will make them happy tomorrow.
  • Four types of people
    • Hedonist : is someone who is doing what makes them happy right now - tomorrow? Let tomorrow worry about tomorrow - I'll just enjoy today.
    • Nihilists : it sucks today and they think it will suck forever.
    • Rat-race addicts : guys who were brought in to run the place.
    • The person who is working at stuff that is fun today but has an eye toward a better future and who is convinced it will be more fun forever.
  • Happiness Metric is his company - it helps the team help its members become better people.
  • The fundamental Attribution Error - when your surrounded by assholes, don’t look for bad people, look for bad systems.
  • Top of the pyramid - 'Achieve Ones full potential'
    • Scrum focuses on this - helping people achieve personal growth and fulfillment.
  • It is not just enough to be happy - harnessed to produce results.
  • All the elements of scrum come together to help a person do just that.


The Takaway

  • Its the journey not the destination : True happiness is found in the process not the result.
  • Happy is the new black
  • Quantify Happiness
  • Get Better Every day - and measure it : at the end of each sprint, the team should pick one small improvement that will make them happier.
  • Secrecy is poison : everyone should know everything
  • Make Work Visible : have a board that shows all the work that needs to be done.
  • Happiness is Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose : everyone wants to control their own destiny, get better at what they do, and serve a purpose.
  • Pop the Happy Bubble : Complacency is the enemy of success.



  • Scott Maxwell - founder of OpenView Venture Partners.
    • Scrum isnt just about teams going faster - its about boosting impact
    • / Zappos
      • Both had vision - what didn’t have was a sense of priorities.
  • How to make faster/better work for you - how to achieve greatness.
  • Scott Maxwell - true power in scrum lies in its ready, prioritized, and sized backlog of what to do.


The Backlog: What to Do When

  • First thing you do when starting scrum - start a backlog
  • You need a clear idea of what you want at the end of work.
  • Once you have a vision - you need to consider what it will take to make that happen
  • Backlog should have everything you could possibly include in the product
  • What are the items that have the biggest business impact. What is most important to the customer.
  • Make the most money and the easiest to do.
  • You want to get to the things that deliver the most value with the lowest risk.
  • 80% of the value is in 20% of the features.
    • Customers really only want 20% of them.
    • The trick to scrum is figuring out how to build the 20% first.
  • The difficult part isnt figuring out what you want to accomplish - its figuring out what you can accomplish.
  • Figure out where the most value can be delivered for the least effort. - do that first.
  • Need someone who can figure out both what the vision is and where the value lies. (Product Owner)


The Product Owner

  • Only three roles in scrum
    • You're doing the work
    • You're a scrum master
    • You're the product owner.
      • Decides what should be worked on
      • Owns the backlog and more importantly - what order is should be in
  • Leadership has nothing to do with authority
    • It has to do with knowledge and being a servant leader.
  • Scrum Master is the how
  • Product Owner is the what
  • PO - needs to be able to deliver feedback to the team.
    • Half their time with the customers
    • Half the time creating the backlog
  • The customer is anyone who will get value from what you're doing.
  • The scrum master and the team are responsible for how fast they're going and how much faster they can get
  • Essential Characteristics of a Product Owner
    • Needs to be knowledgeable about the domain
      • Know the market well enough to know what will make a difference
    • Empowered to make decisions
      • Given leeway to make decisions about what the product vision will be.
    • Be available to the team
    • Accountable for value.
  • In business context - what matters is revenue.
  • I measure a product owner by how much revenue they deliver per point of effort.
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 2:03 PM Scrum | Back to top

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