How Does Scrum Help the Individual?

Mitch Lacey | Jan 10, 2010

In November, 2008 there was a discussion on the Scrum Development yahoo group about how Scrum benefits the individual, and why anyone would want to work on a Scrum team. Here is what was asked:

  • What does Scrum (or other Agile umbrella method) offer to an individual seeking improvement?
  • I realize that TDD helps one improve one’s skillset and so do some of the other Agile practices.
  • But, specifically to Scrum, which practices are intended to address individual achievement/improvement?
  • The reason I ask is because teams have stronger and weaker members and would like to know both what the team can do to help the weaker embers and what the weaker members can do to help themselves. While till attaining/maintaining a high velocity, of course. Preferably without overtime.

This got me thinking, what are the values and benefits? It turns out it was easier to answer than I thought. I had been saying these things for years, in workshops and on teams. Here they are:

People who work on Scrum teams will have the opportunity to improve/practice/polish/learn/grow in the following areas

  1. Technical skills (any) by working in a collaborative space, hopefully pair programming
  2. Interpersonal skills through daily conversation and human interaction
  3. Presentation skills by having to show working software every two to four weeks
  4. Relationship skills by having to work with people you may or may not especially like
  5. Leadership skills by teaching others your unique perspective on how you have solved problems in the past
  6. Self confidence by going out of your comfort zone, stretching yourself and growing
  7. Self awareness by understanding what actions, or inactions, your decisions have on others and the system you are building
  8. Communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, through daily standup meetings, pair programming, customer demo meetings, sprint planning meetings
  9. Estimation skills by having a better understanding of the whole system through the practices of collaborative estimation and collective code ownership
  10. Continuous improvement by having the discipline and trust in your team to allow the items above to become a reality

I use this list when I meet with new teams that are adopting Scrum. Try it out and let me know how it goes!


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