Commitment and the Comfort Zone
There are issues with the commitment concept in Scrum. Even Ken Schwaber is thinking about replacing “Commitment” with “Forecast”. While I have seen some of the described problems I think the potential of the commitment concept outweights it’s flaws. Here is a story that illustrates one powerful aspect of commitments:
At it-agile we created a Scrum team to restructure some aspects of our software development unit. For the first Sprint the Sprint Goal made it necessary to interview customers. So far so good.
But when I was at the site of a coaching client with potential interview partners it wasn’t that easy. I had a full email inbox and it was hard to get in touch with the potential interview partners. It would have been much more comfortable to postpone the interviews. And if I hadn’t committed to the Sprint Goal I would have postponed the interviews. But the commitment made me focus on what really mattered and it pulled me out of my comfort zone and do the interviews. And in the end it was the right thing to do. Learning something about customers was much more valuable than reading emails.
In this story my commitment to the Sprint Goal made me leave my comfort zone.
This is just one of the possible positive aspects of the commitment concept done right. Others include building trust, having an additional feedback mechanism, create focus etc.