Could “Scrum” work in the HR world?

I hope this post finds you well and happy this Easter Monday.  What a wonderful weekend it was!  We will plow some new ground today with a brief discussion of a principle called Scrum and then talk about how it might change, if not revolutionize, the HR world.

What is Scrum?  Based on my research the first mention of scrum came from an HBR article in 1986 by Takeuchi and Nonaka talking about the product development world.  The first full implementation of scrum came in 1993 when Jeff Sutherland, Jeff McKenna and John Scumniotales  implemented Scrum at Easel Corporation.

Sutherland and Schwaber then presented a paper in 1995 talking about SCRUM Development and software and the rest, as they say, is history.

Scrum draws upon a basic set of principles that I have listed below:

1. Organize work in short cycles:
2. The management doesn’t interrupt the team during a work cycle.
3. The team reports to the client, not the manager:
4. The team estimates how much time work will take:
5. The team decides how much work it can do in an iteration:
6. The team decides how to do the work in the iteration:
7. The team measures its own performance:
8. Define work goals before each cycle starts:
9. Define work goals through user stories:
10. Systematically remove impediments:

When I first read this it so reminded me of my days working for the Japanese in the automotive industry back in the early days of my career.  One of the key principles is the fact that the team works collaboratively throughout the process, much like a Rugby team does in advancing the ball down the field.

How would this affect the HR world?  Here are just a few thoughts to start us off today and then dig into more completely this week:

1.  Continuous improvement is essential
2.  Collaboration is key
3.  Measurement and metrics are critical
4.  Use what you learn for the next iteration

We will return to the Scrum process later this week.

How might your organization use Scrum to improve your people processes?