SCRUM – Coaching Model for the IT People

No, it is not about this scrum.

One of the widely used approaches to IT project delivery is called SCRUM, defined in the SCRUM Guide as “a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.”

Before we talk about coaching, let’s look into a short description of a SCRUM framework; if you know the basics, you can skip the section below.

SCRUM Framework

SCRUM is an iterative and incremental approach to project management that focuses on delivering value to the customer in small, frequent increments. It encourages transparency, inspection, and adaptation throughout the development process, which helps teams to continuously improve and deliver high-quality products. The SCRUM framework consists of several key roles, events, and artifacts that work together to ensure that the project is delivered successfully.

Scrum process diagram used to explain coaching process

The roles in SCRUM are:

  • Product Owner: The person who is responsible for the product backlog, prioritizing items based on their value to the customer.
  • SCRUM Master: The person who is responsible for ensuring that the SCRUM framework is being followed and facilitates the SCRUM events.
  • Development Team: The cross-functional team responsible for delivering the increment of the product during each sprint.

The events in SCRUM are:

  • Sprint: A period of development, usually two to four weeks, during which the Development Team works to deliver an increment of the product.
  • Sprint Planning: A meeting where the Development Team plans the work to be done during the sprint and identifies the sprint goal.
  • Daily SCRUM : A daily meeting where the Development Team synchronizes their work and identifies any impediments.
  • Sprint Review: A meeting where the Development Team demonstrates the increment of the product to the Product Owner and other stakeholders.
  • Sprint Retrospective: A meeting where the Development Team reflects on the previous sprint and identifies opportunities for improvement.

The artifacts in SCRUM are:

  • Product Backlog: A prioritized list of features, changes, and bug fixes that need to be made to the product.
  • Sprint Backlog: The subset of items from the product backlog that the Development Team commits to completing during the sprint.
  • Increment: The sum of all the completed product backlog items at the end of the sprint.

SCRUM for Coaching

When we think about coaching, a person coming to coaching is bringing problems to be solved or challenges to be addressed, which requires some planning, actions, reviews – so essentially it is a real-life project! Nothing in the definition of SCRUM restricts its use to the IT project only, so can a SCRUM framework be applied to the coaching process?

Who is the most important in SCRUM ? Without doubts it is a Product Owner, who owns a Product Backlog with a goal of developing and enhancing the Product. With a simple mapping we get a Coachee (i.e., Product Owner), who comes to coaching with goals, issues, topics (i.e., Product Backlog) to work on during the entire coaching process extending through several sessions. The Coachee’s life and personality (i.e., Product) is hoped to be enhanced, developed and grown as a result of the coaching process.

The rest of SCRUM terminology and events can also be mapped:

  • SCRUM Master – A coach
  • Sprint Backlog – Action plan established at the coaching session to be executed before the next one
  • Sprint Planning, Review, and Retrospective– Coaching sessions 
  • Sprint – Time between sessions, when Coachee is working on the goals and actions established on a coaching session
  • Daily SCRUM – Coachee’s daily work on the agreed goals and actions
  • Product Increment – Week-to-week increase in Coachee’s awareness, personal growth, and reached goals

The basics and philosophy stay the same too – Coaching, similarly as the SCRUM framework, focuses on practical added value, it is based on a fast feedback and continuous improvement, requires the team to work closely together with full trust, and is effective if applied properly. 

So just think how would you like your Product to look like and contact a Coach to deliver it…

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash