A Project Language of Highly Effective Teams

Jeff Sutherland describes a project language that he believes can get teams off to a good start and can help make even the best teams even better. These patterns unfold over time as a sequence that the team follows to improve its Scrum team, One Step at a Time.

Jeff's project language unfolds like this:

  1. First, just get started. Start with Stable Teams.
  2. Next, decide how you are going to size your releases every Sprint. Start developing and establish a velocity (see Notes on Velocity) and bring it into statistical control: use Yesterday’s Weather.
  3. Next, work on getting stuff Done (see Definition of Done) instead of foundering in rework. It takes teamwork to do that. Use the pattern Swarming: One-Piece Continuous Flow.
  4. Interruptions are one of the largest potential killers of velocity. You need to know how to deal with interruptions during the Sprint. We presume you have a ScrumMaster, but you need a more finessed technique that suggests a framework of discipline to make interruptions visible and structure how you deal with them. Try Illegitimus Non Interruptus.
  5. Focus on quality from the beginning, every day. Early on, strive for Good Housekeeping.
  6. Stuff happens, and dealing with emergencies is a discipline. Align the organization to deal with emergencies using the disciplined replanning of Emergency Procedure.
  7. The heart of Scrum is process improvement. Get into a rhythm of improving your process every Sprint with Scrumming the Scrum.
  8. Part of improving is to measure—but measure more with heart than with raw numbers. Drive forward with the Happiness Metric.
  9. Revisit how you are sizing your Sprints. Instead of pushing the team to take more and more into the Sprint, refocus on Yesterday’s Weather and give yourself room to improve. Try Teams That Finish Early Accelerate Faster.