Agile Product Management: Scrum is man-made and therefore fallible

Some people may forget that scrum is a man-made perfect and therefore prone to being imperfect in some case. Scrum is sometimes imposed on product and engineering teams without continual monitoring to ensure the methodology is producing desired outcomes.

Imposing this framework on teams without their consensus suggests in some cases that teams can’t collectively—it may be messy initially—figure out how to organize themselves to achieve the team’s desired outcomes. This doesn’t mean a team can’t leverage scrum as a starting point for developing an operating model. Each team is unique because it’s made of unique individuals so every team will likely require a unique operating to optimize performance.

Enabling individuals and teams to leverage their uniqueness will likely increase the odds of value-add innovations since innovation results from some kind of uniqueness.

I think it could be eye-opening and inspiring if there were more case studies of non-scrum-following tech companies that are producing outcomes that customers and the business want. Volvo is one company (see tweet below) and I admit that more stories of these companies may exist that I’m just not privy to.

Melissa Perri is a product management consultant that has taught product management in Harvard’s MBA program.

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