Updated: Feb 25, 2020
Scrum is an Agile concept which was originally designed to enable IT developers to manage complex software and product development. We apply an adapted version of the Scrum process in our Accountability Excellence programme, and through much of our other work, as we believe it is an effective way to improve your performance by tracking your tasks to completion. It is also an excellent tool to help develop an Accountability Mindset.
Prior to using Scrum, our Accountability Excellence framework enables you to clarify, categorise and prioritise your tasks. We help you manage your personal energy levels to give you the best chance of successfully completing your prioritised tasks, and provide a planning framework that enables you to achieve clarity on the requirements of each task.
Once you know what needs to be done, when and by whom, and what the potential risks might be, you can break your tasks down by week across a 30-day sprint, using one Scrum board per week to track your tasks. Our Scrum board contains five columns:
To Do – all key tasks for the week. You can set this up on a Friday with your tasks for the following week.
Not started – tasks for the following day, i.e. Monday’s tasks at the beginning of the week.
In Progress – tasks are moved here when you start working on them.
Impediment – if the task gets stuck and can’t be completed, an impediment review is required to understand how to get the task back on track. If new tasks are required as a result of an impediment review, they can be placed in the ‘To Do’ column.
Done – the task has been successfully completed.
Sticky or static notes are moved from left to right across each row of the Scrum board. Tasks can have one single note or may be divided into sub-tasks that are required to meet the overall task goal. Additional notes can be introduced if an impediment arises, with the resolution of the impediment being created as a new task.
The ideal outcome for a Scrum chart would be for all tasks to be completed on time and so, at the end of the day, the chart will have only empty boxes in the In Progress and Impediment columns.
However, stuff happens. Sometimes things do not get started and stay in the Not Started column, and sometimes they start but get stuck and are not finished on time so they would remain In Progress. In these situations, an Impediment review would be carried out. The purpose of the impediment review is to understand why the task has not been completed on time, who is able to get it back on track and how it can be resolved.
The use of a Scrum board, coupled with regular 10-15-minute Scrum meetings (also referred to as a ‘stand-up’ or ‘huddle’), allows an individual or team to track progress on a task-by-task basis, identifying whether tasks are on target for completion or whether any impediments are thwarting progress. Huddles are designed to provide concise updates and accountability for your tasks; although you may raise an impediment and signal that you require help, the huddle itself is not the place to resolve it. It is best to identify who can help and arrange to discuss the issue with them away from the huddle.
For a 30-day sprint, we recommend holding daily huddles as this will help you to create a habit of tracking tasks and build your accountability muscles. These can be between you and your manager, your team or an accountability coach.
A facilitated reflection at the end of the week will enable you to boost the learning from your experience.