The Rules of Scrum: I never tell any other individual team member which task to work on next

All tasks done by individuals on a Scrum Team must be chosen voluntarily.  If one Team Member, in any way, tells another Team Member what task to work on, this breaks the principle of self-organization that is essential to creating a high-performance Scrum team.  Team leads, project managers, functional managers and other people in roles of authority to assign tasks must give up that authority completely when it comes to the people on a Scrum team.  This self-organizing behavior allows individual team members to consider their own talents, capacity, interest, motivation etc., when choosing a task.  All of those inner conditions are not as well known by other people and so assigning tasks tends to be sub-optimal.  When a Team Member considers those inner conditions about him or her self, and also takes into consideration the needs of the team, an optimal task choice can be made.  If someone in a position of authority does assign tasks, it creates a habit of deferring to authority which quickly destroys any possibility of a high-performance team developing.

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2 thoughts on “The Rules of Scrum: I never tell any other individual team member which task to work on next”

  1. How does this fit with the need to tackle the Sprint backlog in the order determined by the PO?

    1. Hi Paraic,

      Actually, the Sprint Backlog is created and owned by the Scrum Team (or, depending on how you think of these things, the Development Team) during Sprint Planning. The Produce Owner has no direct say over the Sprint Backlog. It may be that you are confusing the Sprint Backlog with the Product Backlog (which _is_ owned and prioritized by the Product Owner). The team works on the Sprint Backlog in any order in which they wish, mostly by individual Team Members volunteering for tasks.

      – Mishkin.

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