When Service1st started using Scrum, the organization consisted of individuals working on their assigned tasks in isolated workspaces. A friend of mine, thinking about the idea of collocated Team work areas, remarked that when he was a child and had been bad, his parents put him in a corner. He had to face away from everyone and be in isolation. He couldn’t help but notice the parallel between this punishment for being bad and what we do to our most valuable assets, our employees.

When people are asked to achieve the possible, they will often try. When people are asked to try to do a little more than the possible, they will continue to try if they aren’t punished for not achieving everything. When people are given all the help they need and ask for, when people are encouraged and treasured, they almost always respond by doing their best.

When people work by themselves, they can achieve great things. When people work with others, they often achieve synergy, where the joint effort far exceeds the sum of the individual efforts. In my experience, this exponential increase in productivity continues until a Team reaches seven people, give or take two. At that point, the shared work, vision, and concepts start to require additional support, such as documentation. Regardless of the scaling mechanism, above a modest number like seven, the productivity of a Team starts to decline, the miscommunications increase, the mistakes proliferate, and frustration grows.

Scrum is for achieving results in complex situations. Using practices such as the Product Backlog, the results can be optimized to the situation. But Scrum is also very much about people. ScrumMasters become dedicated to their teams because teams are neighborhoods that people, including the ScrumMaster, live within.

When I last visited Service1st, it was a good place to visit. I could watch people striving to improve the organization, the teams, themselves, and their profession. I was proud to be associated with them. I have helped implement Scrum in hundreds of organizations over the last decade, and I found this to be a reasonable outcome to anticipate. What more can you ask from life?