Scrum Team

Stagnant flow

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

What happens when the flow of water in a river goes stagnant?

Algae builds up, Mosquitoes start breeding and it starts to smell bad!

Likewise in our teams what happens when the flow goes stagnant?

Waste builds up, Technical debt starts breeding and it starts to smell bad!

Three things we use in our teams to keep the flow going!

  • Stop starting and start finishing – We often believe that being busy is the sign of an intelligent team member. But to the contrary a focused team member who starts and finishes a task at hand is much more valuable to the team goals.
  • Limit work in progress – A lot of us believe that we are great at multitasking but we are not. If you want to test yourself try this experiment: Multitasking is Evil
  • Satisfy reasonable Work Item Aging – Something like 1/3rd of 1/4th of your Sprint length is a reasonable WIA metric to follow. If a task needs more that 1/3rd of the Sprint length the team member is struggling to complete it and needs help.

How do keep the flow in your teams?


Making 80 litres of less waste every month!

Here is a challenge that we picked up as a family in the year 2022.

A family of three, we produced 240 liters of non-recyclable waste every 30 days, making full use of the 120 liters waste container that was cleared twice every month.

The challenge accepted by us was to switch the 120 liters bin to a 80 liters one. This called for a scale down of non-recyclable waste output by a good 80 liters every month…

Did we have to change our behaviour? Yes!

A hard insight into our behaviour that was hardened over a decade –  allowed us the following changes:

  1.  Cat food tins of 400 gm capacity were being thrown into the non-recyclable waste after use. Now we started cleaning the tins and recycling them. That was 10 to 12 tins of 400 gm tins no longer taking up space..
  2.  Yoghurt plastic containers were thrown into the non-recyclable waste after use. Now we started cleaning the cups and recycling them. That was 4 of 500 gm  and 16 of 120 gm containers less going into the bin..

How about our Agile teams?

How much waste do we produce at end of every sprint – because we make waste the same way we did for years (or multiple sprints)?

Can we identify means of waste reduction in our teams and transform the identified methods into action?