Scrum Maturity Model

This is a model for understanding and exploring Scrum team maturity. I created this model during a workshop ran by Olaf Lewitz & Krishan Mathis at the annual Scrum Global Gathering in Berlin.

The first diagram shows the circular states that represent the different levels of team maturity, with some examples of what demonstrates that level of maturity.

ScrumTeamMaturity

The second diagram highlights the fact that the team can only ever be as good as it’s constituent parts. Or in fact, as good as it’s lowest common denominator! In other words, if you have one particularly weak team member, it is going to hold the whole team back. This reinforces why the circular maturity model is so important – any change to the team can have dramatic effects on the overall team maturity.

LowestCommonDenominator

The model isn’t scientific and doesn’t go into a lot of detail. It won’t tell you how to measure maturity or what you need to do to change it. It serves a single purpose; encouraging you to think about the maturity of your team. It will hopefully help you understand what you need to change and how fragile a team’s maturity can be.

This still needs a lot of work, I realise that. I’m deliberately publishing it quickly and soon after the conference in order to try and get a bit of feedback before evolving it further.

What have I changed from the original Scrum Master Maturity model that inspired this proposal?

  • Crucially, it’s a circular model. It’s not a timeline. This represents the fact that the team never stands still. The team always changes. New people will join with different levels of experience and new ideas and, of course, people will leave. It is important to realise that you are constantly moving around this circle as your team evolves. There is no start and end state.
  • I’ve extended the model to incorporate the team as well as the Scrum Master and also show the relationships between the two.
  • I’ve simplified some of the text and made it a bit less ‘wordy’!

You can see the original model that inspired this work below. Full credit to the original author of that model, Ángel Medinilla.

ScrumMaturityModel

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5 thoughts on “Scrum Maturity Model

  1. Does this model really state that when a Scrum team moves to the next “level of maturity” that the SM who was before a “Scrum Sensei” who really got it becomes a “Scrum Dude” who just does not get it?

    Clearly, the maturity process is a lot more gradual and nuanced than this model suggests. I just do not buy that Scrum is so mysterious that we can really get it at one level and be clueless about the next level.

    Scrum is not mysterious at all. It is straight-forward and pure common sense once you buy into the Agile principles. Teams get better at it as they learn how to work together better, how to adapt to their continuously changing broader context, earn trust from the organization to allow them to do the right things and apply lean concepts to make themselves more and more effective at it.

    If “maturity” is anything other than what I just described, it is a tangential distraction to continuous improvement. If that is what “maturity” is, it is more straight-forward to just call it continuous improvement.

    1. In short, no – the model doesn’t state that the SM’s understanding of Scrum would change. We should remove references to the Scrum Master and instead use the term Scrum Participant. No individuals maturity level will reduce (hopefully!). What we are trying to show is that a teams maturity can dramatically change (and can certainly reduce) with significant changes to the team (i.e. the addition or removal of personnel).

      I agree that the whole process is clearly far more nuanced than this model suggests, but isn’t that failing of most models of behaviour and wouldn’t you agree that’s not really the point; the model is supposed to simplify things to get the message across.

      Again, I completely agree that Scrum is not mysterious. I’m not sure I’d completely agree that it’s all common sense, but that is slightly off topic. The point you are making here perhaps suggests we aren’t getting the message across – we are talking about team structure changing over time and the effect that can have on maturity. i.e. ‘teams get better at it as they learn how to work together better’ isn’t the reality when you consider that a team is frequently changing.

      I wouldn’t want to confuse maturity with continuous improvement. Imagine a scenario where a ‘scrum dude’ retires and is replaced by a ‘scrum sensei’ – the team’s maturity level has dramatically changed, but it’s not through continuous improvement.

      The key message here was; a team is only as mature as it’s constituent parts and be aware of how quickly and easily it can change (i.e. don’t rest on your laurels).

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate the feedback.

      1. Then the arrow in the southwest corner is just plain incorrect. If you remove it, then there is no circularity, but I never understood why the model includes any sort of circularity.

        Your example of replacing a key team member also shows you also see that there is no circularity. However, I am skeptical that replacing any one member, even the Scrum Master, can ever instantly increases the maturity of a truly agile team. Replacing the commander of a command-and-control team could have such an instantaneous effect, but in a truly agile team everybody is acting as independent, cooperating agents.

  2. We could think about changing the diagram to indicate that it’s really a sliding scale, but the key point remains; it’s not a straightforward linear progression in one direction.

    On team changes; removing one in-experienced Scrum practitioner can have a dramatic effect on the team if the remaining members of the team were more mature. “In a truly agile team everybody is acting as independent, cooperating agents” – that’s the whole point, that’s how a team of sensei’s would operate, but not one composed of individuals with lower levels of maturity.

    I certainly take your point that the model needs more work to make it clear and intuitive.

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