What’s Your Elevator Pitch For Scrum?




  • — July 10, 2019

    A few years ago I went on a training course given by Ralph Kimball, the “inventor” of the Data Warehouse. It was a great experience but one of the main learnings for me was something he said that applied to all teams not just Data Warehouse teams.

    Ralph suggested that everyone on your team should be a salesman. In fact, he said that everyone is a salesman. If your customer or CEO or CTO or one of your senior stakeholders bumps into you or one of your team in the lift and says “I hear you’re working on this project, what can you tell me about it?” then you might have 30 seconds to answer. And they might make a decision about funding or future business based on your answer.

    So, if you’re working in a Scrum team, what’s your elevator pitch for when someone asks you “So, what is this Scrum thing all about anyway”?

    My answer is the same answer that many Scrum Masters use to answer pretty much any question.

    “Well, it depends.”

    If I want to give a short, snappy answer I might just say that Scrum is all about “getting stuff done”.

    But I’m usually expecting a follow up question to that. Such as “ok, how do you do that?”

    So, if I’m talking to someone who has some kind of background in IT even if they are non-technical I might say that Scrum is about focussing on delivering business value in an iterative and incremental way and in a way that allows the business to react to feedback and discovery and change priorities.

    But now that I’m working with more sales and service teams rather than just software teams I might answer in a more generic way, such as Scrum is about helping your organisation innovate by empowering your teams and putting in place a simple framework to help them collaborate.

    As a Scrum Master you should always be ready to answer the question, “So, what is Scrum thing all about”. But I think your teams should be too.

    Also, it’s useful to have an answer in the back of your mind for when you’re at parties or with family and friends and someone asks what it is that you do again exactly.

    Nowadays I just say, “I help teams work together… better”.

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