Is this a new HR term? I’m talking about “scrum” as a way of describing a manager (sorry, “leader,” as this particular client now calls the management level)/employee communications session.

The old use of scrum relates to rugby. I’ve seen it described as a way to restart a game after an interruption (say, a minor foul) or when everyone acts together to move the ball down the field.

Another common use is “media scrum,” when a group of journalists surround public figures like politicians and ask questions “in an impromptu or loosely organized way.”

When a colleague asked about the meaning of scrum, someone shared a link to “an agile software development method for project management.” It’s not clear reading the “about” page whether this involves software, or just a process, or something else. (Just for fun, I ran the page through Word’s readability stats; it came out with a reading ease of 39.9% vs. the desired minimum of 60%!) Here are just some of the buzzwords that attempt to describe Scrum, the thing:

  • it’s an iterative, incremental process
  • it produces a potentially shippable set of functionality at the end of every iteration
  • it’s a wrapper for existing engineering practices
  • it’s a team-based approach to iteratively, incrementally develop systems and products
  • it’s a process that controls the chaos
  • it’s scalable.

If you were playing Buzzword Bingo, you’d have your card completed in record time! The funny thing is, it claims to be a way “to improve communications.”