Positioning of SCRUM in the insurance world

People love to play. No matter how old we are, it's so much easier to stay motivated if we enjoy what we do, isn't it? Well, in the 90s, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber felt exactly the same. They came up with a revolutionary idea to combine serious business with engaging activities which would bring co-workers together. And that's how SCRUM was born.

Apart from the fact that it allows you to work on complex product development more effectively, SCRUM is one of those buzzwords which connotes with the notion of gamification. It involves teamwork and creativity, step-by-step progress and regular feedback throughout the process of focusing on what is needed and wanted – full stop. Any additional burden of complex analyses leads to confused looks from the whole team.

For the first time, the term SCRUM was used by Japanese management gurus Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi. In their Harvard Business Review publication “The New New Product Development Game” they emphasised the need to feed people with objectives, not with tasks. They chose the name very wisely; they focused on the esprit de corps of a rugby game. Later on, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber picked up on their idea of a rugby formation and created a software development project which is, unsurprisingly, known as SCRUM.

Recently, the insurance industry has experienced several creative moments when it comes to reaching operational excellence. SCRUM is a methodology which can be put under the Agile umbrella along with software like eXtreme Programming or DSDM. As change management is a complex machinery of processes and one could get easily lost in the jungle of products on the market, SCRUM is sometimes mistakenly compared to Six Sigma. However, this ground-breaking idea from Motorola is a set of tools, methods and procedures concentrating on the customer, rather than on top-down changes in management as a whole.

SCRUM is viewed as a revolutionary framework for teams. It has the potential to clean the insurance business from the procedures which weigh down the work spirit and it can stimulate employees to put their heads together, get their hands dirty and aim for the most essential goal of the game – Operational Excellence. That's why agile project management is a popular subject of heated discussions. One of them will surely follow the presentation of Lean Agile Coach - Hans Frankenberg, who will speak at the 3rd Annual OPEX in Insurance Forum on 21 – 22 May 2015 in Munich, Germany. Thirteen expert peers, including him, will be there to reach solutions for specific problems and up-to-date burning issues of representatives of insurance companies from across Europe.