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Scrum Framework and its relevance to COVID-19

Last post 04:43 pm March 28, 2020 by Ramanujam Kalyana Vangipuram
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04:37 pm March 28, 2020

Scrum Framework and its relevance to COVID-19

By Ramanujam K Vangipuram, PGDM-IIMB, PGDPM-XLRI, PSM-I, PSM-II*


“In any crisis, Leaders have two equally important responsibilities: Solve the immediate problem and keep it from happening again”.  The current COVID-19 pandemic is one such crisis and it has been reshaping our lives and the way we live and work.  As I have been actively associated with SCRUM World and see the relevance and applicability of the ‘Core Scrum Values’.  Scrum does not tell us how to do things, but tells us what needs to be done and lets us figure out how to do it.


You don’t have to be familiar with the Scrum, and those who are aware, may think that this has to do with some kind of software / product development.  Though this is said to be true yet the same frame work of Scrum and its three pillars with its five values can be adapted to any situation as it may offer immense benefits since many of us and many organizations and individuals are passing through the most critical period with this Covid-19 pandemic.   


Scrum predominantly uses an empirical approach to quickly adapt to the changing requirements, and this very specific act of decision making based on actual experience makes it more relevance now, as our day to day life is on a roller coaster with prevailing uncertainties.  Let us take a look at these pillars and core values.


Three Pillars of Scrum:  Though by Merriam-Webster definition


TRANSPARENCY:  the quality or state of being transparent –Characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices.  In other words: able to be seen through, easy to notice or understand, honest and open, and not secretive


INSPECTION: the act of inspecting – checking or testing of an activity against establish standards


ADAPTATION: a process of adjustment to environmental conditions


But from Scrum’s point of view


TRANSPARENCY: Giving Visibility to the significant aspects of the process to those responsible for the outcome.  Scrum tools such as Task Boards, Burndown Charts, Sprint reviews, retrospectives, definitions of done etc., would provide greater visibility with the progress of work and team.


INSPECTION: Timely checks on the progress toward a sprint goal to detect undesirable variances.  Scrum’s artifacts and scrum board provides adequate inspection


ADAPTATION: Adjusting a process as soon as possible to minimize any further deviation or issues.  In Scrum / Agile world constant and continuous change(s) are adapted by keeping what is working and drop what is not working.

Now let us take a look at the Core Values:


Scrum is founded on five values that each member of the team uses to guide his decision making. These aren’t rocket science. Instead, they fall into that familiar category of common sense. Yet they’re critical to the successful implementation of scrum


With these values of courage – to do the right thing, with razor sharp focus on the goals, determined commitment to achieve the goal, and with openness and respect among the team and by following the true spirit of the Scrum pillars – the results will be phenomenal.


Here is an opportunity for us to embrace the most commonsense category of core values and reshape our lives and living experiences by taking a leaf from the Scrum’s framework.


With our current perspective of COVID-19- Let us uplift the values of commitment, with courage, and focus with openness and respect to each other, and come together with much needed transparency, while constantly inspecting the situation, and adapt strategies to circumvent the current pandemic with our due diligence and tact!


Let me share my thoughts on we can embrace these core values for improvement of our lives


Let us all COMMIT to do our part to achieve our common goal of coping with the challenges before us with COVID-19 : Perhaps Washing your hands quite often, keep your surrounding’s neat, follow CDC guidelines, maintain safe distance, avoid large gatherings (be it Social or work related) encourage others

to follow, and the list goes on.  Do your bit and encourage others to do their bit - thus with collective commitment we can and will prevail the invisible war by microorganism!


With COURAGE do what is right and navigate through the problems and issues.  This could mean letting people around you and your team know when you are sick and seek treatment right away.  On the same token when we know someone near and dear are sick or infected, provide them necessary guidance by directing them to seek some medical help and this can be done over phone / mobile or by virtual media.


By keeping FOCUS on what needs to be done – the need of the hour is to practice Self-Isolation so that we won’t be a carrier or a catalyst to spread this deadly virus.  One of the most common with these raise of alarming COVID- 19 victims is not following CDC guidelines and not practicing Self- Isolation.


We all need to be  OPEN dialogue about the work and challenges and this includes discussing matters with your team members, colleagues, friends and family to garner their support and understand and share their mindset with this burning topic.  Encourage one to open up and share their views or concerns would certainly help them to ease their pain or fear on this deadly virus.


We need to RESPECT each other to be capable and independent people.  Respect Privacy, Respect when someone commits to do, they will do. Believe that we all are independent and capable people of achieving.  With respect to each other we can all bind together and prevent spread, contain and seek cure from this invisible alien who is invading our lives and lifestyles!


Let us all cherish the Scrum’s most common sense values of Courage, Focus, Commitment, respect and openness to boldly face and eliminate the current COVID-19 challenges from the face of the earth!

*a seasoned Consultant and a free-lance contributor on Topics of Interest (IT, Business and Digital Transformation) currently with GM Finance

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