Team members are not focused on customer value, instead they are too busy pleasing the Scrum Master

Team members are not focused on customer value


When the first Scrum Team was created, Dr. Jeff Sutherland realized one major challenge. The team members were not looking at the customer value. They were focused on satisfying their manager, and this resulted in bad products and bad customer experience.

So, How Did Dr. Jeff Sutherland Deal With This Challenge?

Overcoming the Challenge

Oftentimes, the Scrum Master is also the team lead or reporting manager. He observed that team members would work hard to please the manager and in doing so, they would upset the customer and not deliver what the customer wanted.

They were too focused on making the manager happy because they knew that ultimately, the Scrum Master would be in charge of their performance appraisal.

In the early days, it was corporate policy to have performance appraisals. Dr. Sutherland believed that it was better to not have any performance appraisals at all, so he came up with a solution. He changed the way they did the appraisals and made it customer-focused. What the customer says about the product should show how well the team performs and contributes towards the company’s goals. This changed everything and drove the team to want to deliver great products.

Let’s take Dr. Sutherland’s story as an example.

In the very first Scrum team, Dr. Sutherland asked his team to ship the product out and let Computerworld and PC Magazine give their reviews. These magazines would evaluate the quality of the product, give their reviews, and that would be the team’s appraisal. This way, the team became hyper-focused on understanding what the customers want and delivering a product that would bring them real value. The results were remarkable. They produced the best product that Computerworld had ever seen in that space. And all the team members received tens on their performance appraisal.

Key Takeaway

So, when we use Scrum to run a team or company, we should always remember that the goal is to make sure that everyone is focused on delivering customer value and business outcomes. These are the results that Dr. Sutherland created Scrum to achieve.