Improve Your Scrum by Using Flow Thinking

Scrum is based on empirical process control, the pillars of which are transparency, inspection, and adaptation. This mostly means that instead of following a plan we observe how things are going and adjust accordingly. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t use theory. It’s just that when we do use theory we must verify it worked.

Earlier, I discussed how using the theory of cost of delay can improve Scrum. This post discusses how the theory of flow can also be used to improve Scrum.

Here is what the theory of flow suggests.

  • Work on small stories.
  • See if you can help someone finish a story before opening a new one. This keeps work within your capacity. It also results in fewer stories being open at a time. It  enables the to better handle any interruptions that may occur.
  • If you have people who do mostly testing, have them work with those who do mostly coding. Set this up with some form of ATDD or BDD.
  • Have an explicit workflow so everyone knows how the team has decided to work.

Doing these practices help most teams avoid many of the challenges that those new to Scrum face. You can try new things by attending to what’s caused delays in the past and try to eliminate them. If you are not sure, have the team run an experiment to see what works.

This is Al Shalloway. Visit us at

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