Using agile methodologies to raise productivity
In Kuadriga, we think that "team building" is important - but
daily dialogue means more for high productivity.
SCRUM is an agile software development methodology that forces
daily dialogue - especially when supported by shared tools.
What is SCRUM?
SCRUM is an agile software development methodology. It is based
on teams of developers that develop their way through priortised
lists of specific requirements. Development is organized in
"sprints" of 2-4 weeks after which the product should be
demonstratable. All developers meet in daily stand-up team meetings
of typically 15 minutes. The agenda is simple - and the same for
all developers :
1) what have I achieved since yesterday?
2) what am I going to do today?
3) are there issues that keep me from doing as promised until
Apart from the team members themselves, important roles are
"Product Owner" and "Scrummaster". The Product Owner represents the
customer and priortises work. The Scrummaster facilitates daily
work by organising daily meetings and removing obstracles to
Unlike other methodologies, SCRUM recognizes that customers may
change their minds about what is needed. Productivity and quality
are typically very high as the team members commit themselves
towards each other and are working in managable development
In the box to the right, is a list of internal root
causes for bad performance in a team. They are pretty obvious
when you look at them. Fighting them is harder. Because of physical
and cultural distances, there is greater risk of them to appear in
cooperation with off-shore teams. In combination, they can be
deadly to overall performance and productivity.
SCRUM in offshore
Supported by modern communications, SCRUM fights the effects of
distance and makes the world almost flat. Kuadriga's
SCRUM-based teams typically conduct their daily meetings over Skype
and use a shared team management environment to ensure that all
team members are looking at the same reality.
What we find is that SCRUM is extremely helpful in breaking down
barriers of distance and increasing mutual trust in the team. "Team
building" activities are necessary for successfully launching new
teams and it is useful to let all team members meet a few times a
But real benefits to productivity and quality come from daily
contact - facilitated by
SCRUM. SCRUM effectively forces teams together on a
daily basis and provides a natural environment for resolving issues
early and keeps the team focused.