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What HR Doesn’t Know About Scrum

September 15, 2010

Typically HR practices are rooted in popular misunderstandings of behavioral psychology and what motivates individuals in a work environment. Studies of human motivation reveal typical practices such as micromanagement and performance appraisals are counterproductive in the long run. When filling Scrum roles, HR departments and hiring managers will often overemphasize credentials and skills and give insufficient weight to the chemistry of the team and letting the team play a key role in the hiring process. Because Scrum is based on teams that are empowered and self-organizing, oftentimes, employees that appear negative under the restrictions of a forced hierarchy or traditional management can often excel when set free on the right Scrum team because they are often suppressed leaders.

Within organizations using Scrum there can be some confusion as to how people management aspects such as grievance/disciplinary procedures, annual reviews etc should be handled. (See this discussion on Google groups…http://groups.google.com/group/scrumalliance/browse_thread/thread/42c97a2651aa570d) When we refer to Scrum teams as being “self-managing” teams we do not mean that team members can decide to give each other a raise, or fire another team member. This is normally considered an HR or management task. However, for a Scrum implementation to be successful and for an organization practicing Scrum to be a truly extraordinary organization, there must be a collaboration between HR and Scrum teams when making Scrum organizational decisions. If you are interested in learning more about HR’s role in the process and how HR can work with Scrum teams to be successful, check out this article by Michael James, a CollabNet Certified Scrum Trainer and Coach (http://www.danube.com/company/bios/michael) Article can be found at: http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/vzocgh

Collabnet is a project success company specializing in the improvement of management and engineering practices for software development organizations.
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