ERIC Number: EJ1049319
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Reference Count: 16
Scrum: Enhancing Student Team Organization and Collaboration
Opt, Susan; Sims, Christy-Dale L.
Communication Teacher, v29 n1 p55-62 2015
To teach collaboration and overcome students' aversion to teamwork, Pope-Ruark (2012) recommends the Scrum approach, which she has used to manage major client-based course projects in writing and publishing courses. The Scrum approach emerged out of the software development industry in the 1990s as a framework for improving team collaboration, creativity, and flexibility (Fitzgerald, 2013; Johnson, 2012). The name "Scrum" comes from a rugby play in which eight members of a rugby team lock arms together to form a "scrum," or a pack, that goes against the opposing team's "scrum" ("The Laws," 2009). In essence, the joined team members act "together with everyone else to move the ball down the field" (Rising & Janoff, 2000, p. 30). The software development industry adopted the term Scrum "as a metaphor for the product development activities of small, cross-functional, high performing teams" (Pope-Ruark, 2012, p. 165). In a Scrum approach, software team members act together to move projects forward by using tools known as Scrum boards, Scrum meetings, and Scrum retrospectives that enable them to literally "stay on the same page" and quickly adapt and reprioritize tasks based on changing project needs (Baird & Riggins, 2012). A variety of organizations, such as Starbucks, National Public Radio, government agencies, churches, and wedding planners, have adopted Scrum to improve team performance, inventiveness, and adaptability (Fitzgerald, 2013; Johnson, 2012). In this activity, the authors describe how they have adapted Scrum in introductory small-group communication courses and an upper-level communication and conflict course with the objectives of teaching and enhancing team collaboration. Scrum teaches students to plan short-, medium-, and long-term goals and offers students tools for breaking complex tasks into manageable concrete pieces, prioritizing tasks according to project needs, and sharing information in non-evaluative ways (Baird & Riggins, 2012; Hocker & Wilmot, 2013). Thus, Scrum helps teams create behaviorally specific goals and practice open and supportive communication--key techniques for building collaborative skills (Hocker & Wilmot, 2013).
Descriptors: Teamwork, Cooperation, Computer Software, Communications, Planning, Goal Orientation, Skill Development, College Students, Feedback (Response), Teaching Methods, Group Activities, Educational Technology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A