Cass Sunstein and Scrum?

When asked “Who is Cass Sunstein?”, by the grace of holy grail of knowledge Wikipedia, (which is rather easy to be found than your regular holy grail) the answer would be, an American legal scholar, who excels particularly in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law and behavioral economics and was the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration.

While establishing this fact is relatively easy, establishing a relation with Scrum and this gentleman is rather difficult. But then again perhaps it is not.

In an interview about the Internet and spread of knowledge, Sunstein claims on the contrary to general belief, even though Internet has made information more accessible it did not necessarily boost people’s variety of knowledge but rather caused them to “group” around people with certain perspectives. For the individual, this naturally causes a very one-sided perspective and a polarized view of the world, resulting in a cultural myopia.

Therefore, in his mind, for transparency, freedom of speech does not seem to be enough but also the encouragement for clash of different ideas and interactions with people who contradict each other are necessary, which increase the sense of recognition of the “different” individual as a citizen and also result in a more precise perspective that would arise from the clash of opinions.

So far so good, but how does it all relate to Scrum?

Naturally, first off, we must start with being a team. A team, with a very high probability and almost close to certainty, would be consisted of people with different backgrounds, culture. Even more so functionally, since teams are supposed to be cross functional. It is obvious people with similar mind and skill set, would only reinforce their own way of thinking, which is a very common pattern in large organizations. You cannot be a team without embracing diversity.

Therefore diversity of people is crucial both the society and Scrum

Also, if organization culture object against diversity of “opinions”, it certainly cannot perform any kind of kaizen, hence cannot perform iterative improvements that are crucial to improve the way a team and an organization works.

To do that, not only people must give voice to their opinions but also must be provided an environment to debate, think as a collective. If that environment is a parliament in a democracy, then it most certainly is a Retrospective Meeting in Scrum Framework.

Therefore diversity of opinions and enabling them to be heard is crucial both the society and Scrum.

You cannot help but ask “Was Sunstein an acting Scrum Master in White House, Obama as a Product Owner?

Ceyhun Yavuz
ACM – Agile Coach

Ahmet Akdağ

Ahmet Akdağ


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