Executives: 5 Ways Scrum Can Make Your Life Easier

July 1, 2014

When most people think of Scrum and agile development, they think of software engineers doing funny things with Post-It notes. The truth is, Scrum can help transform the performance of any team, and the people who stand to benefit most are executives.

Whether or not your business has implemented Scrum, the likelihood is that you’ve at least heard the term bandied about in the office. Maybe the software development team is using Scrum to improve productivity. Or maybe the sales, marketing, and customer service teams have begun kicking around the idea of implementing it to optimize their efficiency and output.
Whatever the case may be, the reality is that Scrum can enable every team in a SaaS organization — from entry-level BDR reps to senior-level managers — to organically achieve a continuous level of improvement. And, maybe more importantly, it can also make the lives of SaaS executives who are in charge of overseeing those teams a heck of a lot easier.
How so?
Here are just a handful of ways that Scrum can improve the performance of every team in a business, and drastically cut down on the supervisory and managerial minutiae that often bogs down expansion-stage SaaS executives.

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from our newest eBook: The Executive’s Quick Guide to Scrum
Download the free guide now

5 Ways Scrum Can Improve Any Team’s Productivity (and Make Your Life Easier)

1) Help Teams Understand How Tasks Fit into the Bigger Picture

Because Scrum allows teams to break complex projects into manageable tasks, it forces teams to think about the specific actions needed to reach a goal, and it encourages reviewing and revising those actions to ensure they’re focusing on the most high-impact work possible.
For executives and managers, that means less time spent hand-holding, and more time spent focusing on higher-level strategic goals.

2) Keep Better Tabs on Team Progress

Thanks to a rhythm of daily stand-ups and weekly reporting meetings, Scrum delivers much-needed visibility into a team’s workflow and results. By utilizing Scrum boards (that’s where online tools like Trello or the good old-fashioned Post-It Notes come in), team members and managers can easily get a quick glimpse into the team’s progress and track the current status of any individual task in a very clear and visible way.
As a discipline, Scrum encourages autonomy and accountability, which of course frees executives from the urge to micromanage and provides instant insight into overall progress.

3) Naturally Build-in Deliverables

The goal of every Scrum team is to have something deliverable at the end of every sprint. That means complex projects are naturally broken down into smaller, more specific tasks, and teams can paint a much more detailed picture of what needs to happen (and when) in order to have the larger project completed.
Naturally, that means executives can easily acquire more detailed insight into what their teams are doing and when that work will be complete — both of which make it much easier to forecast results.

4) Help Teams Stay Better Organized

Effective project management requires team-wide organization, open communication, and progress tracking. Each of those things represent the heart of Scrum, which enables teams to lay out a logical roadmap for getting things done, stay on top of individual tasks, and actively remove any impediments.
How does that make an executive’s life easier? It’s simple: The more employees self-organize and communicate, the less time you waste having to facilitate those things.

5) Remain flexible but focused

While it might seem like Scrum has a lot of rules, it’s important to remember that it’s an agile framework. Scrum is purposely built to execute shorter cycles, with a focus on iteration and continuous improvement. As such, flexibility is critical and teams are encouraged to leave room in their sprints for unexpected hiccups.
For executives, that means you can spend less time about building (and enforcing) rigid frameworks for work completion, and more time focused on how to effectively help the team reach its goals.

Two Big Payoffs: Increased Productivity & Happier Employees

At the end of the day, there are two clear benefits to implementing Scrum:

  1. Increase in team-wide productivity: According to Alex Brown, COO of Scrum Inc., 200 percent productivity growth is a virtual guarantee when Scrum is properly implemented, but Brown routinely sees productivity enhancements as high as 400 to 800 percent.
  2. Boost in employee happiness: Because Scrum encourages greater autonomy and clearer line-of-sight into personal contributions and results, the result is that employees generally feel a greater sense of accomplishment, validation, and satisfaction.

For executives, that makes your job easier in a very important way: the happier your employees are, the more likely it is that they’ll stick around. And that inevitably cuts down on the time (and resources) you have to invest into perpetually filling open seats.


Image courtesy of Alan Dayley