Honest and Positive

“It’s almost always possible to be honest and positive.” – Naval Ravikant

While coaching at a start-up, I learned early on that the founders were very hard drivers, and people were afraid to say “No” to them. We were attempting to try Scrum, which requires that a team focuses on a goal for the sprint. But the founders would often interrupt the sprint and add items to be worked on immediately.

Saying “No,” “not, now,” or “next sprint” was not a safe option.

So the team established a working agreement that explicitly prioritized executive interrupts over everything else. As a result, in their sprint review, they would transparently share that although they had planned for 15 items, they only completed 2 and tackled 50+ emergencies.

After a few sprints working in this manner, the executives realized that every time they introduced an emergency, it superseded their previous crisis.

This experience was far more potent than any explanations the team could have provided.

The founders learned and improved how they interacted with the scrum team and started working through the product owner, who was empowered to say ‘No” and keep the team focused.

How has Scrum helped you improve?


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