• Firstly, this does not suggest that efficiency and quality are in conflict... only that some methods prioritize them differently.
  • Secondly, this is not a question of whether you agree with Scrum practice or not.

An expressed goal of Scrum is to create high quality increments of a deliverable product. This does not exclude that it might be done efficiently, but efficiency is not the focus.

Most programmers want to both deliver quality products and be efficient about it. Scrum's requirement to add product backlog items to a sprint backlog from the top of the prioritized list only... will often result in resistance from programmers, such as:

"But it will be more efficient if we add these other two items, from further down the priority list, to this sprint".

Perhaps the prioritization of the product backlog items could have been influenced differently by the Scrum Master, while working with the Product Owner. Such could be addressed in the next product backlog refinement session.

Setting aside such issues, are case-studies (of other teams' effective uses of Scrum) an effective way of swaying reluctant team members? (particularly on the issue of efficiency) Or, is there something better than case-studies?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Robert Harvey, durron597, user22815, user40980, Thomas Owens Jul 14 '15 at 14:44

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Are you the boss? – Robert Harvey Jul 10 '15 at 0:26
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    The fact that Scrum is being used implies that management is committed. You can't just go ahead and use Scrum without management having agreed. Furthermore, team members are not solely motivated by the authority of management. – David Jul 10 '15 at 0:33
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    You can't just go ahead and use Scrum without management having agreed. --Many companies do try. – Robert Harvey Jul 10 '15 at 0:33
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    Recommended reading: How do I explain ${something} to ${someone}? – user22815 Jul 12 '15 at 19:03
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    @David I went to fix the spelling in the title when a word in the body came up with a red squiggly. Given the poor spelling of many programmers who post here, I was not even thinking locale (en-US v. en-GB). – user22815 Jul 14 '15 at 2:21

Setting aside such issues, are case-studies (of other teams' effective uses of Scrum) an effective way of swaying reluctant team members? (particularly on the issue of efficiency) Or, is there something better than case-studies?

Case studies really are a poor substitute to general experience and even if people read them, it likely won't make any big difference.

Your problem is one of ulterior goals. A Scrum team is forward thinking only in terms of getting items into the backlog that need to be worked on. They are also forward thinking in "Sprint Zero" mode where they are planning the project overall, high level design and environment buildouts. That is it.

Everything else should be a short term goal for the scrum team, completing the next sprint to product owner acceptance.

If your team members are thinking about later rework then they are right to bring it up as a concern during Sprint Planning, but the decision to bring it into the sprint rests solely on the Product Owner. Rework is only a concern when the Product Owner considers it to be a problem but he/she should be aware of the technical implications of what she is committing the team to.

So how should you convince the team?

You need to get everybody on the team aligned with the same goal in mind. Report potential technical issues and risks, and spike when you don't have enough information, but ultimately, when you commit to a story your feelings should be left at the door and you should do it regardless of the down stream impacts. The team just needs to be clear about how much effort will be expended to do this and if it is realistic in terms of the allocated sprint time.

If developers are concerned about having to write a bunch of code that will be thrown away later then they are not aligned.

The goal is quickly delivering business value NOW, not preventing future rework. It is not about them and their worries about refactoring and future workload, get them to abandon these goals by stressing the importance of Minimum Viable Product and quickly delivering business value.


There is something better. It is called 'authority'. Product owner decides what goes first and what goes after.

However, it's expected from developers to communicate to product owner that some things might be more efficient doing one way or another.

That being said, authority is still the product owner, and based on the input from developers, product owner has to decide whether to stick to his plan or alter the plan a bit.

Professional developer is the one who informs the product owner of possible optimizations, but not the one who refuses to do something because "he believes so".

  • Are you saying that exercising authority is a more effective way of actually convincing team members to willingly rebalance the quality vs efficiency question in their minds, @Alexus? – David Jul 13 '15 at 23:45
  • I am saying you shouldn't need to convince a developer anything. Developer is hired to do the job and customer is the business unit in this case. If business unit decides to sacrifice quality and/or efficiency for other needs, developer does so without questions. And authority is to make it clear to the developer. I am not saying developers are slaves, I am however saying that developers often don't consider business needs at all. I am a developer myself by the way and I have been through that cycle. – Alexus Jul 13 '15 at 23:49
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    Then, what you have provided is an answer to a different question. You are saying that the team members' do not need to be convinced of anything. The question, however, was about how to convince the team members. – David Jul 13 '15 at 23:57
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    My answer identifies and covers alternative solution to your problem, at least how I see it. – Alexus Jul 13 '15 at 23:59
  • The answer does not necessarily have to directly address the question if the question demonstrates a very clear problem and the answer provides a good faith and quality attempt to provide an answer to the problem. If you think the answer is off base however then feel free to downvote answers you don't like. – maple_shaft Jul 14 '15 at 13:14

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