“Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.” -Paul Krugman


This week I’ve been finding that getting thing to done requires a certain amount of energy. A sort of leadership repetition. An energy in the flavour of “What do you need?” and “How can I help?”.

“Where is the baton?”

I’ve been exploring various ideas around increasing velocity. It’s got me asking questions like.

  • Is this an effective use of a scrum masters time?
  • How do you encourage a corporate development team to self organise and want to increase their velocity?
  • What is productivity and how do we form an agreement on that?
  • Is passion enough to foster accountability, collaboration, support and effort?
  • If two or more people are involved, then who is truly accountable for passing the baton?
  • Is it in ‘my’ personal interest to co-operate, or would doing that actually result ‘my’ failure?
  • Are quantitative metrics and measurements effective?
  • Is increasing WIP just a sure fire way to confuse a business and get less done?
  • How do we make individual cross-functionality a reality?
  • What are our emotional bottlenecks?
  • If a baton falls should the scrum master pick it up or she they leave it there for the team to rediscover and address themselves?
  • How do you make the baton as visible as possible, so the team can work it out, and so that you don’t need to get involved?

“We are creating organisation ready to fail…. but in a compliant way. If we want to foster accountability then we need to develop an environment in which collaboration results in personal reward. Remove metrics and measurements. Look at the quality of cooperation.” -Yves Morieux

Staceygrouxbnt is a scrum master. She’s new. She’s eternally loveable.

Kimitrainolrt is a tester from the 90’s.

Jennicramtzner is a developer who likes dark chocolate.

Peneloqwetine is a developer. She likes to travel on her own.

They work in a scrum team together with others. They are all people who hold themselves to a high standard of accountability. Everything they do they track on the shared team work board. They communicate well.

Something started to happen in Sprint 15.


Jennicramtzner mentioned at the morning standup that she was hoping to get a Pull Request (PR) for PBI 242424 out before lunch. She did. It was awesome. She sent an email to Peneloqwetine to let her know.

Peneloqwetine started her review. Before she could hit “Approve” Kimitrainolrt dragger her into a meeting. The meeting didn’t go too well. Peneloqwetine went straight to lunch.

The baton had been dropped.


At the stand up Jennicramtzner asked Peneloqwetine if she had approved her PR. Peneloqwetine said that she had made a start and that she would aim to have that done within the hour. She did. It was awesome.

An hour later Peneloqwetine sent Jennicramtzner a PR for PBI 939393 via the internal staff instant messenger. Jennicramtzner wasn’t there at the time. The message sat dormant in her inbox. When she returned she didn’t see the message for a few hours. She tends to use that for personal chats rather than straight work.

Staceygrouxbnt picked up on this gap. She asked Jennicramtzner if she had received Peneloqwetine’s PR. #whatdoyouneed #howcanihelp

Jennicramtzner investigated. Found the PR. Approved it. It was awesome. She then let Staceygrouxbnt know it was approved.

Staceygrouxbnt then mentioned to Kimitrainolrt that PBI 939393 had been approved and that it was ready for Testing. Kimitrainolrt really appreciated the head up and double checked the status of the item on the shared work board. She saw that it had been updated as expected and began her Quality Assurance (QA).


At the morning stand up Kimitrainolrt updated the team that both PBI 242424 & PBI 939393 had now passed QA and were now ready for Production.

At lunch Staceygrouxbnt started to ponder.

Why did PBI 939393 seem to track twice as faster?

Was it because she was hovering there ready to ensure the baton was transferred correctly and that the #relay could continue?

“I guess my issue is very much around passing the baton. Passing it through dev, review, qa, release, production, customer and back. Um. I guess what I mean is. I feel like if we could improve the way we Transfer an item from one person to another that would accelerate delivery a lot. Like. More than double. Up through the chain, to the customer, and back, and back again, and yeh… 100x faster. Scrum doesn’t seem to help me with all of that.”