Not Playing With Scrum

I witnessed a developer on one of our Scrum projects today. He was called on first and spent 5 minutes not answering what he was working on for the day or how many hours were left on that task. Instead he:

  • Twisted the shoelaces on his shoes.
  • Stared at the floor.
  • Said ‘umm’ maybe 20 times.
  • Asked several times could you just tell me how many hours I said for that task.

Everyone got the feeling the developer really didn’t want to be there. The funny thing is this person is a pretty good developer who really contributes to the project. It was painful enough that other developers tried to answer for him after a few minutes. He finally agreed to 8 hours more on his current task after 5 minutes.

Some good observations from our Scrum coach on the situation: (She had picked up on the same vibe from the developer.)

  • We’re following a rule that the daily standup reporting starts with the person to the left of the ScrumMaster. Since this is often the same developer who hasn’t bought into the process it starts the whole standup off on a down note. So change up the starting person so that this person is near the end and doesn’t bring the group dynamic down.
  • Focus on the people on the project who are buying into Scrum or are at least open. You convince them of the value and then let peer pressure work on the disillusioned developer.