The Scrum Murder Book: Who Killed Scrum?

I recently returned from the 2012 Scrum Gathering in Atlanta, GA. It was a good time to see some old friends and learn some new things. One of the sessions I attended was hosted by my friends Tom Perry and Dhaval Panchal. The session was called The Scrum Murder Book. Here’s the abstract:

When detectives begin a murder investigation, they sometimes create a “Murder Book” that contains all of their notes, findings, and errata. What if we kept a Murder Book for our Scrum teams? What would it include?

There were posters hanging around the room titled Witness, Suspect, Motive, Weapon, and Opportunity. There were also evidence cards with different sayings and anecdotes listed on index cards on the wall.

Scrum Gathering Atlanta 2012: The Scrum Murder BookWe began the time together sitting in a circle talking about our favorite detectives, detective shows, and mystery writers. We heard things like CSI, Agatha Christie, The Thin Man, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, etc. Tom introduced the crime: Scrum has been killed. Who did it?

We divided into groups and began to work together to solve the mystery. We looked at the evidence available and made a list of suspects and witnesses. We then looked for a motive the suspects might have had to kill Scrum. As we identified motive, opportunities started coming to mind about when the crime might have occurred. Hypothesizing about the weapons came naturally after we had a list of suspects, motives, and opportunities.

At the end of the data-gathering exercise, we did a debrief about what was in our virtual murder book. It was very enlightening what 30 people had come up with in a very short period of time. Tom asked everyone how we might use this technique. Here are several ideas we came up with:

  • Journaling the events of the team
  • Input to the team’s retrospective
  • Celebrations!
  • Transparency to management

We talked about if the role of the detective. What does the detective do? They ask questions, investigate scenarios, and investigate motives, opportunities, and weapons that people use inside and outside of the teams.

There is no role in Scrum called the detective, but should there be?

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