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Scrum for Scouts?

Last post 12:38 pm August 5, 2013
by Joris De Winne
5 replies
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12:59 pm August 1, 2013

I'm an adult leader in a Boy Scout troop (in the USA) with 6 months of Scrum under my belt (and 2 years of Kanban before that). We're supposed to be boy-lead and have numerous events to plan for and execute. I've been frustrated lately when I see the boys unfocused in their personal advancement activities at summer camp, plus the difficulties they have doing weekly activities (instructional training, game, song, looking forward to next events), plus the issues with adults trying to help plan larger activities.

Last week at camp I tried pitching a basic flavor of Scrum at them to help them be more productive. They didn't all jump in and say "yes", but they didn't say no either.

I've seen Kanban applied to family chores and such, but has anyone ever developed a simplified version of Scrum that boys 13-17 could implement (with adult guidance)? Yes, I know Jeff Sutherland will say that if you're not following all the Scrum practices, you're not doing Scrum, but could we do "Scrum for Kids"???

My thoughts on adapting to the activities we have in Scouting:

* Daily Scrum meetings become weekly meetings to check progress (the boy-leaders currently meet 30 minutes before the full Troop meeting to check progress and develop more details for activities in the month)
* Retrospective meetings would happen at the start of the existing monthly boy-leader planning meetings.
* Sprint Review, Sprint Planning and Backlog Grooming meetings would follow in the same monthly meeting. They'd have to be very condensed.
* The adult leaders would help with the Retrospective, especially the Kaizen?

Problems/Questions:

* Boy-lead means (to us) that the boys set their priorities, so who acts as the Product Owner?
* Boys don't exactly have that "focus gene" turned on much yet, so how to keep them focused while keeping it fun?

I would love to hear any thoughts or experiences others may have had with using Scrum methods with teens! Please email me if you have additional info that might not fit here?

Thanks,

Stew

01:52 pm August 1, 2013

I think Kanban might be better suited since your BSA environment pretty much has the tasks figured out (training, games, songs, and other activities). You're just looking to be able to prioritize these activities and execute them efficiently.

02:45 pm August 1, 2013

Randy,

Thanks for the quick reply!

I actually tried very basic Kanban with them last year, but didn't follow up on it. But you might be right for the "known activities." I was thinking about Scrum primarily to help us accomplish the bigger activities that require planning, such as a major fundraising event (like we have this weekend) or an Eagle project or the annual planning and general follow-up.

I was looking to Scrum to provide a little more discipline in the planning and review, as well as only looking at the vague details for the events that are farther in the future. I was also hoping to get a bit more commitment to the tasks, that "team energy" that Scrum demands, which I think is reinforced when you achieve the increased productivity via the focused efforts.

Has anyone tried teaching Scrum to teenagers? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks again,

Stew

01:16 am August 2, 2013

It's been done for Girl Scouts. See:

http://www.projectsatwork.com/blog/Dave-Prior/6390/

07:22 am August 2, 2013

More Kanban, no Scrum? Okay, I can take a hint! :-)

Thanks Ian!

12:38 pm August 5, 2013

I know they use Scrum at schools in The Netherlands:
http://eduscrum.nl/en

I'm not sure if it is of any help. If you want to talk to the people supporting this, let me know.

Regards,
Joris