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Scrum Master or Waste Master? How Scrum can turn into Waste if implemented incorrectly

By September 6, 2023 No Comments

The event

In the ever-evolving landscape of Agile methodologies, the role of a Scrum Master can often be a beacon of efficiency and productivity. However, as Joanna Koprowicz, an Agile-Lean Coach, Trainer, and Consultant, pointed out in a recent webinar, there’s a fine line between being a Scrum Master and a Waste Master. In this blog post, we take a closer look at the insights shared by Joanna during our recent session.

Watch the webinar and Joanna’s presentation here

Joanna Koprowicz’s Background

Joanna’s credentials in the Agile and Lean community speak volumes about her expertise. As the co-organiser of ALI Community (Agile-Lean Ireland and Agile-Lean International), she stands at the forefront of these methodologies. Her extensive experience as a coach, trainer, and consultant adds weight to her observations on how Scrum can either lead to streamlined success or become a source of waste when implemented incorrectly.

The TIMWOODS Acronym: Identifying the Culprits

Joanna initiated her discussion by introducing the TIMWOODS acronym, a tool used to pinpoint areas where waste can creep into Scrum processes. Let’s break down the components:

  • Transportation: Unnecessary movement can eat away at efficiency.
  • Inventory: The accumulation of items or information not delivered to the customer can slow down progress.
  • Motion: Excessive movement within the workplace can lead to inefficiency.
  • Waiting: Time spent waiting for information or items can be a silent killer of productivity.
  • Over-production: Doing too much work before it’s needed can lead to unnecessary efforts.
  • Over-processing: Unnecessary steps or processes can become a significant source of waste.
  • Defects: Mistakes and errors that require rework are clear culprits of inefficiency.
  • Staff: Underutilised talent is an opportunity lost.

By identifying these elements within your Scrum framework, teams can become vigilant about preventing waste from creeping into their processes.

Key Questions to Ask

Joanna raised several critical questions during the webinar, which serve as a litmus test for your Scrum implementation:

  • Is Scrum Suitable for Us? – Do you have a common goal and the right mindset for Agile methodologies?
  • Percentage Allocation of People – Is staff distributed optimally, or are certain projects overstaffed?
  • Fluid Team Dynamics – Are there logistical challenges or geographic barriers hindering collaboration?
  • The Daily Scrum Frequency – Does your team genuinely need a Daily Scrum meeting, or is it becoming a routine without value?
  • Status Report Meetings – Are they necessary, or do they contribute to information overload?
  • The Right Audience – Ensure that the right stakeholders attend meetings and discussions to avoid misalignment.
  • Feedback Loop – Is there a mechanism in place for continuous feedback and improvement?

These questions act as guideposts, helping teams recalibrate their Scrum practices for maximum efficiency and minimal waste.

Interactive Learning and Collaboration

The webinar concluded with an engaging Q&A session, allowing participants to delve deeper into the topics discussed. Moreover, networking in breakout rooms provided a platform for practitioners to exchange ideas and share their own experiences in the world of Scrum and Lean.

Final Thoughts

Joanna’s webinar shed light on the critical distinction between a Scrum Master who drives efficiency and one who inadvertently becomes a Waste Master. By understanding the TIMWOODS acronym and asking the right questions, Agile teams can steer their Scrum implementation towards a leaner, more productive path. After all, in the Agile world, the goal is not just to sprint but to sprint efficiently towards value delivery.

This blog post was written by Trish Ferguson, Member of the Steering Committee, Dublin Lean Network.
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