Day 18 – The Hawthorne Effect

Its the penultimate day and whilst there is still a bit more QA to do before release we are pretty much there. Next up is an interim Sprint where we get to focus on some cleaning up and automation ready for the next sprint. The Sprint Goal will be to make changes that will allow us to go faster in the next release.

I’ve been pondering the psychological effects of Scrum. I think there is a bit more to it than efficiency improvements, people seem to actually work harder. Why is that? I was originally thinking about a placebo effect. Do people actually get better just because they are working a Scrum and Scrum is known to help us work better? I raised the question on the LeanAgileScrum yahoo group. There were some interesting responses and a couple of people suggested the Hawthorne Effect was a more palausable explanation. The Hawthorne effect is described as a short term performance improvement caused by a changing environment and being observed. Since Lean/Scrum is about constantly improving our environment and being observed in daily scrums and burn down charts I think this theory could have some legs. The beauty of scrum is this improvement doesn’t seem to be short term. Perhaps it creates a self perpetuating Hawthorne effect.

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