SCRUM is not just a project lifecycle framework. It’s an HR policy too.
As the HR director with a rapidly growing software company, processes and project management are of great interest to me. For, unlike traditional brick and mortar enterprises, tech firms depend completely on their human resources. As a result, good or bad processes have a direct impact on the morale of personnel in a firm like ours.
Now, everyone knows that SCRUM is a really hot project/ product lifecycle process. The iterative cycles, continuous testing, and constant interaction with the client or product owner, definitely makes for a better end product – one that matches what the end-user needs.
But, what about the HR benefits? How does this process affect the employees, their morale, and their retention rates?
Well, after 3 years of directing the HR department of a company with among the lowest attrition rates in the business, I can say with confidence that SCRUM rocks! Here’s why:
Every individual realizes she is an important cog in the project’s wheel. She knows her role well, and her contribution to the team’s cause is clear. At the same time, she’s well aware of the roles of the other team members, and how they are faring, giving her a clear view of the bigger picture. This makes her an active participant in the team’s cause, and fosters a spirit that’s difficult to sustain in traditional methods like the waterfall.
In a SCRUM, the individual decides how much work she can cover in a sprint. Therefore, the workload is not thrust upon her, and is instead of her own choosing. This gives her a feeling of responsibility, and motivates her to back her own decisions. What’s more, she has the feeling of personal ownership towards the job at hand. It motivates her to punch above her weight, and this is why a SCRUM team is always known to be far greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Leadership sans hierarchy
The fact that anyone can be a Scrum Master is a liberating feeling for the team, especially the younger, or otherwise unsung members. Here, the Scrum Master is almost always chosen on pure merit, based on who can serve the team’s interest best. It also means that the servant leader is accessible and also pulls her own weight, as far as the project work is concerned. The usual grouse of employees that the management dumps work onto them, but do very little otherwise, is absent.
Motivation through autonomy
Autonomy is among the greatest motivators, especially in an industry where individual initiative makes a massive difference. The SCRUM philosophy of each individual deciding on her work, workloads and time required, motivates them to give their best at all times.
An opportunity to air grievances
In the traditional waterfall method, employees rarely get the opportunity to speak about the roadblocks they encounter, be it professional or personal. With the daily SCRUM meetings, everyone gets the chance to speak about issues they may be facing, and it gives me, as an HR Director, the opportunity to address them before it becomes a cause for dissatisfaction.
Employee burnout is among the prime reasons why employees leave. Different people have different strengths, and speeds. With SCRUM, we find that employees not only do the work they enjoy, they also deliver more in the long run.
As they say, a little happiness goes a long way. And SCRUM definitely keeps our tech teams happy, motivated and enthusiastic about working at Suyati.