The Rise Of Zombie Scrum

Symptoms of Zombie Scrum

Symptom #3: No emotional response to success or failure

Symptom #4: No drive to improve

Causes of Zombie Scrum

Cause #1: A bit too homegrown, or ‘Cargo Cult Scrum’

Cause #2: No urgency

Cause #3: Competing Values

Treating Zombie Scrum

Treatment #1: Become a Zombie-whisperer

Treatment #2: Introduce Healthy Scrum into the population

Treatment #3: Shake things up (don’t continue the stumble)

  • Zombie Scrum teams often benefit from a shortened Sprint length. Instead of three to four week iterations decrease the length to two weeks or even just one.
  • Focus the Sprint Planning on answering the question what type of impact the team would like to achieve within the upcoming Sprint.
  • Start the Daily Scrum by reviewing the Sprint Goal and asking what achievements the team has made towards reaching that goal.
  • Use the roadmap to provide context for the insights from the Review meeting. And for heaven’s sake, invite some real customers or stakeholders!
  • Use the Retrospective not to drag out the same old problems but to dream big. A transformational approach might be better suited than an incremental one.

Treatment #4: Involve the broader Scrum Community

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Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan Verwijs

I liberate teams & organizations from de-humanizing, ineffective ways of organizing work. Passionate developer, organizational psychologist, and Scrum Master.