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A New Year's Resolutions Perspective for Scrum Teams

January 4, 2024

As we step into the year 2024, I extend my warmest wishes to all for a prosperous and fulfilling year ahead. It's a moment of new beginnings, and traditionally, a time for setting New Year's resolutions. Let's delve into how this concept resonates with Scrum Teams, examining its effectiveness and suggesting a different approach.

The Pitfall of New Year's Resolutions

New Year's resolutions are often ambitious, born out of the euphoria of a fresh start. However, data and experience show that sustaining these resolutions might be exceptionally challenging (see e.g. The primary issue lies in their scale and the need for significant, consistent effort to make them a reality. Without a well-thought-out strategy and the development of effective habits, these resolutions often lead to disappointment and are abandoned. In that case, should Scrum Teams attach importance to New Year's resolutions?

Scrum Teams and New Year's Resolutions

Taking into account the aspects related to the New Year’s resolutions, Scrum Teams should be cautious about embracing New Year's resolutions for several reasons:

1. Commitment and Professionalism: Scrum values like commitment and focus are fundamental. Treating resolutions as fleeting wishes undermines these values and can negatively impact team professionalism. Abandoning resolutions might also create ineffective harmful habits. So, if you are into New Year’s resolutions, remember about commitment. Do you believe you have chosen something important to work on?

2. Avoiding Magical Thinking and Postponing Learning: Waiting for a special moment to take action, like the start of a new year, can delay learning and improvement opportunities. Scrum encourages continuous improvement and learning, not waiting for an arbitrary date. If you don’t grab learning opportunities today, maybe your competitors will?

3. Lean Thinking and Waste: Time spent on uncommitted resolutions can be seen as a waste from a lean perspective. Scrum teams should focus their efforts on maximizing value. What is the value of creating resolutions, investing some time and then abandoning them because of lack of commitment? 

Continuous Improvement as a Scrum Principle

Instead of paying too much attention to annual resolutions, Scrum teams should emphasize continuous improvement as an integral part of the Scrum framework. This mindset encourages regular learning, experimentation, and adaptation as part of daily work, not as an annual event.

Going back to the basics, Scrum provides a structure for this continuous improvement through its various events. Regular inspection, adaptation, and commitment to goals are ingrained in every Sprint, making the concept of a yearly resolution potentially redundant.

So, are Scrum events the only opportunity to learn and improve? It's vital to remember that learning and experimentation shouldn't be confined to formal Scrum events. Teams should feel empowered to pursue knowledge and conduct experiments outside these structures, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Scrum events are formal opportunities to improve, but as professionals we can create more opportunities by ourselves.


Conclusion: Every Day is an Opportunity

In the world of Scrum, the idea of waiting for a new year to make significant changes seems obsolete. Albeit, resolutions might be more meaningful if they align with continuous improvement and learning principles. Every day presents a new opportunity for learning and growth. Scrum teams should seize these moments, maximizing their learning and driving continuous improvement. The new year doesn't need to be a special milestone for Scrum teams; instead, every day is a chance to evolve and excel.

And what about your New Year’s resolutions? Do they relate to the true important and urgent problem? Have you considered building effective habits in your routine? Are you ready to hold yourself accountable?

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