Sep 062010
 

So, I’ll be participating in Scrum Beyond Software in Phoenix later this September.

I have a bubbling head full of ideas to share there, and as a collaboration junkie, I’m making them visible for comment.  Suggestions? Criticisms?  Want to join me in Phoenix and collaborate?  Leave a comment!

Topic 1 — Science: A Framework to Aid Scientific Research Teams

Scrum is, at its heart, a simple empirical framework for learning and discovery.  Often it’s used to “discover” the unbuilt-but-needed features of a software product, and so people confuse it with a product development methodology.  But it’s more than that — Scrum is also useful for process improvement or organizational change.  Scrum is even self-modifying: it can be used to “discover” the best way to shape the framework itself to help make the team using it more effective.

When you generalize Scrum this way, it seems pretty obvious to try to apply it to how teams “do science”:

  • backlogs as analogs of hypotheses
  • swarming as part of research
  • team-synchronization via standups and lo-fi tools rather than long publishing processes
  • scrum of scrums to synchronize multiple teams
  • demos and retrospectives as analogs of findings and conclusions

These are fairly naive mappings; I hope to make richer ones in Phoenix.

Topic 2 — Healthcare: A Framework for Training Medical Teams

I first mentioned this in a Twitter post inspired by discussion at the 2010 Conference of the International Association of Medical Education.

It seems to me that much of the thought in medical education views education as a rather linear, deterministic process, using what Bob Marshall calls “analytical models,” as contrasted to empirical, stochastic or even chaordic models.  Example:  a “learning process” depends on:

  • a set of initial “learning outcomes”
  • guided “deliberate practice” where students work either on medical tasks, or simulated scenarios (as a team, no less!)
  • “reflective learning” where students debrief and self-assess.

To a Scrummer like me, this just screams “backlog, whole-team execution/delivery, retrospection, REPEAT” and also embracing student/team learning as a chaordic rather than deterministic process.  Unfortunately I see some of the literature and discussion in the medical education world take a rather “one-shot” approach to training:  Students come in, execute, and now they are “trained.”

Some topics and questions I’d like to raise in Phoenix:

  • How might we frame learning in the context of Scrum?  By individual lesson (sprint), and as an entire curriculum (release)?
  • Comments from people in the medical training/simulation field? How have you used something similar to Scrum?
  • What are the problems with taking an approach driven by feedback loops rather than a stepwise process?

Topic 3 — Healthcare: Patient-Centered Treatment

Inspired by Compassion as a Golden Rule for Healthcare and Real Participatory Healthcare Starts With Assigning the Patient to Your Team (same author)

I need to give more thought on this — or ideally jam with another collaboration junkie — but the nebulous ideas here are:

  • Linda Rising’s talk at Agile 2009 about how people who solve problems together, despite their backgrounds or knowledge, feel more empathy and understanding for each other
  • How this effect brings diverse skillsets on an expert team together, despite egos and fears, and makes the team more effective at problem-solving
  • Mapping the patient, and patient’s family into the role of “user”; mapping the medical staff into the role of “team”, and then:
  • Using the Scrum framework as a structure in which to allow these roles to interact.
  • How this is very different from the standard model of “lead physician interacts with patient/family, and specialists mostly  interact with lead physician”
  • Who should be the ScrumMaster and Product Owner?
 Posted by at 5:57 pm