I am leaving on a trip to visit our office in Copenhagen tomorrow. One of my goals is to visit with some teams in my peer group over there that have recently started to use Scrum. That started me thinking about how I would know if Scrum is helping their development process or not.
In an ideal world, we would have a bunch of productivity and quality metrics to easily determine if Scrum is helping. Of course, we know that software development is a complicated endeavor whose metrics often leave much to be desired. While metrics can help, we often need to fall back to more subjective questions and answers.
I think Scrum really helps with project transparency, a strong focus on producing value to the customer, and team / individual focus on the task on hand. Another huge goal of Scrum is for a team to have control over its destiny and become self managed. Given these, here are the questions I've come up with so far:
- Are you consistently producing value to the customer with each sprint?
- Has communication in all directions (within the team, up the chain, across to other teams) improved?
- Do individual contributers feel like they have more focus on their job?
- Do individual contributors feel that impediments are removed more quickly?
- Are you improving your ability to estimate what you can get done within a sprint?
- Does the team feel empowered to achieve its goals in the most optimal manner?
- Does the team feel that Scrum helps them build software more productively and with higher quality?
- Does the team like this process?
What other questions should I be thinking about? If you are using Scrum, are you asking these questions of yourself?