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Re: Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up

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  • mpoppendieck
    Jonas, I have not read the book you reference, so I am not sure why they call 3M a bottom-up organization. But I worked there for 20 years, ending up as a
    Message 1 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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      Jonas,

      I have not read the book you reference, so I am not sure why they
      call 3M a bottom-up organization. But I worked there for 20 years,
      ending up as a manager (and product champion) in the new product
      development area of the company.

      Certainly no one at 3M would think that much good can be
      accomplished by a single individual. The way that new products get
      invented is that someone with a good idea recruits team members.
      Because of institutionalized slack (anyone can spend 15% of their
      time on projects of their own choosing), it is quite easy to do
      this. The practice is officially known as `bootlegging'.

      Let me give you an example. I was trying to build a business around
      an ultra-pure plastic fiber about ½ inch in diameter, into which
      one injects light. The light comes out at the end or as a glowing
      fiber. Colors are injected via a color wheel. We called the
      product `Light Fiber' and our team introduced it in Japan in
      1998.

      The team was largely a team of volunteers, some of whom were
      officially assigned to the project at their request by their
      managers, some of whom were donating their 15% time. We were one of
      the few technical teams in the company to successfully involve
      Japanese technical people as fully involved team members. We met
      every week for 3 years, and although we had very little official
      funding, we built two process lines, prototyped a third, and
      commercialized the product.

      There is no way that a new product can be successfully developed and
      put on the market by one person. The only successful product
      champions at 3M are those who can inspire a team. For the most
      innovative products, the team must often be recruited and is to some
      extent a volunteer team. It requires a good idea and strong
      leadership to inspire a team of `volunteers', but it is in no
      sense working with a group of individualists. The new product
      development team is a unit, working together, making mutual
      commitments, helping each other, doing whatever is necessary to put
      a successful product on the market.

      From my personal experience, I must say I would rather lead a team
      of scientists who are deeply committed to each other and to the
      product, than a team of scientists who are being told what to do.
      Not only is it more fun, it is far easier to be successful.
    • Jonas Bengtsson
      Mike, It seems like we re on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
      Message 2 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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        Mike,

        It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
        emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
        responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
        commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
        meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
        work/spirit/etc play a major role.

        I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
        the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
        keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
        guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
        the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
        adding small features.

        Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
        "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general) I guess
        it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
        becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
        self-directing Scrum teams out there?

        Jonas

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
        Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


        I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
        the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
        that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
        consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

        As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
        and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
        the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
        's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
        creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
        typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
        where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
        when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
        have a big percentage of this type of work.

        So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
        put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
        Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
        allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
        around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
        (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
        doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
        on.

        --Mike
      • Jonas Bengtsson
        Mary, Thanks for clearing that out! I guessed that teams play a large part even there. But as I understand it they state that the employees are quite
        Message 3 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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          Mary,

          Thanks for clearing that out! I guessed that teams play a large part even
          there. But as I understand it they state that the employees are quite
          individualistic who are "preferring to work on their own". The examples they
          are focusing on is Dick Drew (inventor of Scotch tape) and Art Fry (inventor
          of Post-it), that is two examples of individuals that on their own invents
          something amazing, nothing about team efforts.

          The reason why they call 3M a bottom-up organization is that the top
          management is not "bosses" but rather mentors/supporters. Orders/commands
          from top management have little meaning since the company "encourages
          meritorious disobedience". It is the opposite to a top-down (=bureaucratic?)
          organization.

          Jonas

          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
          > Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
          > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up
          >
          >
          > Jonas,
          >
          > I have not read the book you reference, so I am not sure why they
          > call 3M a bottom-up organization. But I worked there for 20 years,
          > ending up as a manager (and product champion) in the new product
          > development area of the company.
          >
          > Certainly no one at 3M would think that much good can be
          > accomplished by a single individual. The way that new products get
          > invented is that someone with a good idea recruits team members.
          > Because of institutionalized slack (anyone can spend 15% of their
          > time on projects of their own choosing), it is quite easy to do
          > this. The practice is officially known as `bootlegging'.
          >
          > Let me give you an example. I was trying to build a business around
          > an ultra-pure plastic fiber about ½ inch in diameter, into which
          > one injects light. The light comes out at the end or as a glowing
          > fiber. Colors are injected via a color wheel. We called the
          > product `Light Fiber' and our team introduced it in Japan in
          > 1998.
          >
          > The team was largely a team of volunteers, some of whom were
          > officially assigned to the project at their request by their
          > managers, some of whom were donating their 15% time. We were one of
          > the few technical teams in the company to successfully involve
          > Japanese technical people as fully involved team members. We met
          > every week for 3 years, and although we had very little official
          > funding, we built two process lines, prototyped a third, and
          > commercialized the product.
          >
          > There is no way that a new product can be successfully developed and
          > put on the market by one person. The only successful product
          > champions at 3M are those who can inspire a team. For the most
          > innovative products, the team must often be recruited and is to some
          > extent a volunteer team. It requires a good idea and strong
          > leadership to inspire a team of `volunteers', but it is in no
          > sense working with a group of individualists. The new product
          > development team is a unit, working together, making mutual
          > commitments, helping each other, doing whatever is necessary to put
          > a successful product on the market.
          >
          > From my personal experience, I must say I would rather lead a team
          > of scientists who are deeply committed to each other and to the
          > product, than a team of scientists who are being told what to do.
          > Not only is it more fun, it is far easier to be successful.
          >
          >
        • Ken Schwaber
          The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is responsible for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best possible and most
          Message 4 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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            The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is responsible
            for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best possible and
            most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
            promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
            the product backlog. A new type of management position that isn't
            administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
            border collie or sheepdog.
            Ken

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
            Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 5:34 PM
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


            Mike,

            It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
            emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
            responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
            commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
            meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
            work/spirit/etc play a major role.

            I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
            the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
            keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
            guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
            the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
            adding small features.

            Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
            "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general) I guess
            it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
            becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
            self-directing Scrum teams out there?

            Jonas

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
            Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


            I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
            the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
            that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
            consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

            As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
            and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
            the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
            's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
            creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
            typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
            where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
            when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
            have a big percentage of this type of work.

            So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
            put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
            Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
            allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
            around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
            (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
            doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
            on.

            --Mike



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          • Jonas Bengtsson
            Ken, The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following sentences by Mike Beedle: SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that
            Message 5 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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              Ken,

              The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following
              sentences by Mike Beedle:
              "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that case someone is
              designated as the scribe and also logs the completed and planned activities
              of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All activities from the Backlog and
              the Blocks are then distributed among the team members for resolution."
              <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

              Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

              > The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is
              > responsible
              > for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best
              > possible and
              > most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
              > promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
              > the product backlog.

              I agree with most of the above. But what do you mean by "responsible for the
              productivity of the team"? I can see that s/he can be responsible to remove
              impediments and to do everything possible to enhance the productivity. But
              can s/he be responsible for the actual productivity? If s/he does everything
              s/he can but the team still performs poorly is s/he the one to "blame"? As I
              see it the ScrumMaster is responsible to create the right environment for
              productivity but not directly for the productivity.
              Do we mean the same thing or do we have different opinions? (Perhaps I
              should work in a Scrum project before I have opinions about it :-)

              > A new type of management position that isn't
              > administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
              > border collie or sheepdog.

              I like that! :-)

              Jonas

              ps. forgive me if I was unable to express what I mean above, but I'm really
              tired :-) ds.
            • Ken Schwaber
              Not in my experience. However, I ve either been on critical projects or projects where the organization was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
              Message 6 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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                Not in my experience. However, I've either been on critical projects or
                projects where the organization was changing its culture. Both required
                dedicated ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization, the teams
                could be self-directing.
                Ken

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
                Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 6:22 PM
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


                Ken,

                The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following
                sentences by Mike Beedle:
                "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that case someone is
                designated as the scribe and also logs the completed and planned activities
                of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All activities from the Backlog and
                the Blocks are then distributed among the team members for resolution."
                <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

                Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                > The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is
                > responsible
                > for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best
                > possible and
                > most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
                > promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
                > the product backlog.

                I agree with most of the above. But what do you mean by "responsible for the
                productivity of the team"? I can see that s/he can be responsible to remove
                impediments and to do everything possible to enhance the productivity. But
                can s/he be responsible for the actual productivity? If s/he does everything
                s/he can but the team still performs poorly is s/he the one to "blame"? As I
                see it the ScrumMaster is responsible to create the right environment for
                productivity but not directly for the productivity.
                Do we mean the same thing or do we have different opinions? (Perhaps I
                should work in a Scrum project before I have opinions about it :-)

                > A new type of management position that isn't
                > administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
                > border collie or sheepdog.

                I like that! :-)

                Jonas

                ps. forgive me if I was unable to express what I mean above, but I'm really
                tired :-) ds.



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              • Mike Cohn
                Yes, I think we re on the same page on this. I guess I didn t consider the work to be routine, just not knowledge-creating. I m thinking of a project I m
                Message 7 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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                  Yes, I think we’re on the same page on this.

                   

                  I guess I didn’t consider the work to be routine, just not knowledge-creating. I’m thinking of a project I’m working with right now where one of the programmers is writing a simple user administration program to accompany the main program (to allow creation of new users, delete existing users, etc.). Everyone has written something similar so it’s not creating new knowledge but it isn’t exactly routine because he hasn’t done it dozens of previous times. Every programmer (person in general) finds his challenges different ways so I generally don’t give a programmer a challenge of “do this routine task faster than you’ve done it before” because not all programmers like that type of challenge (another may prefer to do it is less memory, etc.). In true Scrum manner that type of decision is best left to each individual.

                   

                  The Scrum Master is vital. I’m not sure if the role becomes less important with jelled teams but the role can become much less distinct. As the team comes together there is less need for the orchestrating activities of a Scrum Master and so I’ve found it easier for one of the programmers to do the job after having watched it happen for awhile. I’m thinking about one team I’m working with—there are 6 people on the team and I’ve worked with 3 of them in various capacities for much of the last 8 years so we obviously have a history together. We started with a Scrum-like process way back then and have evolved it as we learned or as Ken, Mike and others published on the topic. So the 3 on this team are pretty familiar with what they need to do and my duties as a scrum master to them are very simple relative to what other teams need.

                   

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
                  Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 3:34 PM
                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up

                   

                  Mike,

                  It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
                  emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
                  responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
                  commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
                  meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
                  work/spirit/etc play a major role.

                  I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
                  the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
                  keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
                  guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
                  the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
                  adding small features.

                  Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
                  "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general)  I guess
                  it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
                  becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
                  self-directing Scrum teams out there?

                  Jonas

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
                  Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


                  I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
                  the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
                  that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
                  consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

                  As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
                  and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
                  the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
                  's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
                  creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
                  typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
                  where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
                  when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
                  have a big percentage of this type of work.

                  So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
                  put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
                  Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
                  allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
                  around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
                  (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
                  doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
                  on.

                  --Mike



                  To Post a message, send it to:   scrumdevelopment@...
                  To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...


                  Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                • Mike Beedle
                  ... Jonas, Ken: It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master. But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically, Ken hits the nail on
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 4, 2002
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                    Jonas wrote:
                    >Ken,
                    > The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was
                    > the following sentences by Mike Beedle:
                    > "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in
                    > that case someone is designated as the scribe and
                    > also logs the completed and planned activities
                    > of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All
                    > activities from the Backlog and the Blocks are then
                    > distributed among the team members for resolution."
                    > <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>
                    >
                    > Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                    Ken wrote:
                    > Not in my experience. However, I've either been on
                    > critical projects or projects where the organization
                    > was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
                    > ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization,
                    > the teams could be self-directing.

                    Jonas, Ken:

                    It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master.

                    But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically,
                    Ken hits the nail on the head, it requires a very
                    special environment:

                    - high Scrum experience for all, if not all members
                    of the team

                    - team members with established relationships with
                    other members of the organization and with the
                    respect of managers (because some of their chosen
                    assignments are "issues"; therefore, they must
                    be able to represent themselves to resolve them).

                    - team members ability to keep and manage backlog
                    (again, not an easy thing to do, but it is
                    possible, specially in smaller teams.)

                    - team members with the ability to coordinate with
                    the customer and the sponsor of the team about
                    needs, demos (Spring Review Meeting), planning
                    (Sprint Planning Meeting),

                    etc.

                    Unfortunately these requirements mean that self-directed
                    teams are hard to put in place and hard to keep in
                    balance. Simply put, it is safer to have a good
                    Scrum Master,

                    - Mike
                  • Linda Rising
                    Hi Guys, All the teams at AG were self-directed but that just means that the team adopted the various management roles. The ScrumMaster was just another role
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 5, 2002
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                      Hi Guys,

                      All the teams at AG were self-directed but that just means that the team adopted the
                      various management roles. The ScrumMaster was just another role and someone
                      took that on and tracked the backlog.





                      Linda



                      Mike Beedle wrote:
                      Jonas wrote:
                      Ken,
                      The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was
                      the following sentences by Mike Beedle:
                      "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in
                      that case someone is designated as the scribe and
                      also logs the completed and planned activities
                      of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All
                      activities from the Backlog and the Blocks are then
                      distributed among the team members for resolution."
                      <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

                      Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                      Ken wrote:
                      Not in my experience. However, I've either been on 
                      critical projects or projects where the organization
                      was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
                      ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization,
                      the teams could be self-directing.

                      Jonas, Ken:

                      It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master.

                      But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically,
                      Ken hits the nail on the head, it requires a very
                      special environment:

                      - high Scrum experience for all, if not all members
                      of the team

                      - team members with established relationships with
                      other members of the organization and with the
                      respect of managers (because some of their chosen
                      assignments are "issues"; therefore, they must
                      be able to represent themselves to resolve them).

                      - team members ability to keep and manage backlog
                      (again, not an easy thing to do, but it is
                      possible, specially in smaller teams.)

                      - team members with the ability to coordinate with
                      the customer and the sponsor of the team about
                      needs, demos (Spring Review Meeting), planning
                      (Sprint Planning Meeting),

                      etc.

                      Unfortunately these requir ements mean that self-directed
                      teams are hard to put in place and hard to keep in
                      balance. Simply put, it is safer to have a good
                      Scrum Master,

                      - Mike



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