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How to Best Use Your Talents in Scrum

Each Myers Briggs personality type has different strengths they can use through Scrum methodology

By Sara Fauver, Senior Solutions Engineer

In my role as a Senior Solutions Engineer at BreakFree Solutions, I practice and lead others in Scrum development every day. Myers-Briggs personality tests came to my radar in the 8th grade, and I’ve always found personality tests interesting and a helpful framework for understanding how people process information. Recently I started thinking about how Scrum and Myers-Briggs relate to one another.

Every personality type is unique with their own ways to shine within the Scrum framework. To help you learn how to best use your personality type while operating Scrum, here are ways, broken up by personality type, to get the most out of Scrum. (If you don’t know your type already, here's a link.)

INFP - The Idealist

You care a lot about people and maintaining interpersonal harmony. These skills make you a talented mediator. In the Scrum Sprint Planning activity, the Product Owner and Development Team must agree with what stories from the backlog are pulled into the next sprint, setting tensions at ease by clearly defining the next set of work. Negotiations in Sprint Planning are typically mild and limited to deciding the size that the Sprint Backlog can accommodate for a single additional story. However, when there are higher demands on negotiations, your ability to mediate helps the team make the best decisions.

INTJ - The Scientist

There are few things that you enjoy more than strategizing and bringing your ingenious ideas into reality. The product backlog is the artifact in Scrum where ideas, written as stories, are tracked, refined, and eventually pulled into a sprint for development. The backlog is in perpetual flux as the most valuable ideas are refined and prioritized for development. Your involvement working with the product backlog leverages your aptitude for strategizing and enables you and your team to add the most value to your product.

INFJ - The Advocate

You are likely more decisive than most people and leaning on this strength has brought you success in the past. In Scrum, the Sprint Planning activity relies heavily on decisiveness to succeed because this is the time to choose which stories should be pulled from the backlog into the next Sprint. You help this process run smoothly and you thrive when commitments are made and understood by your team.

ISTJ - The Inspector

You have an innate desire for order in your life including (perhaps especially) at work. Although you're fully capable of establishing and maintaining order for yourself, you benefit from the structure that Scrum provides because every ceremony, artifact, and role in Scrum is tuned for enabling the Scrum team to accomplish complex work together. Working as part of a Scrum team helps you flourish because the structure helps you and your colleagues develop a great product together.

ISTP - The Crafter

You are the MVP maker. You are action-oriented, and hate being bogged down by out-of-touch commitments, which are sometimes typical with project management. To truly succeed, you need to be able to try new things and learn by experience. One focus of Scrum Methodology is the huge benefit of enforcing the concept of MVP (minimum viable product). In Scrum, MVP is used as a starting point that is incrementally improved based on real feedback from Sprint Review. Producing and then incrementing the MVP means you are constantly working hands-on with the product.

ESTP - The Persuader

You are a fast-moving individual with a flair for understanding the perspectives of those around you. You prefer to just get things done and have little patience for convoluted plans. When practicing Scrum, you thrive on the limited ("just enough") amount of planning that is needed, and you help ensure those plans are of high quality by engaging in Sprint Reviews. In Sprint Review, you can fully grasp feedback and inspect upcoming work for its alignment to the Sprint Review feedback.

ESFJ - The Caregiver

You have a helping nature and a desire to live and work following your values. To you, the Scrum values of Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, and Courage are an important structure that you can center your work around. In doing this, you inspire your colleagues to honor those same values that are at the core of Scrum and thereby improve the quality of your team’s work.

ESFP - The Entertainer

You live in the present and thrive on flexibility and spontaneity. In Scrum, the product is open-ended and without a clear form at start. For you, working on a project that finds its form over time keeps you from becoming bored. Scrum has just enough structure to keep you focused on incrementing the product to its next configuration with enough variability to keep you engaged.

ISFP - The Artist

You prefer a high degree of autonomy at work, and you love to see the fruits of your labors. In Scrum, you greatly appreciate the independence that is reserved for the development team. Development teams in Scrum must be self-organizing and strictly not micromanaged. You prefer to keep a low profile but do love seeing the increments of your product when it's time for the Sprint Review.

ISFJ - The Protector

You’re the standup appreciator. You are very reliable, and people naturally depend on you. You are sensitive to the feelings of those around you but often keep your own feelings to yourself. At work, you sometimes hesitate to speak up when you are stuck because you don't want to be a burden. In Scrum, the daily standup meeting supplies a place where you are expected to report on what you're doing and what blockers you have. By communicating openly and in a regular cadence, you can embrace the opportunity to speak up and depend on your team as they depend on you.

ENFP - The Champion

You live in a world of possibilities and usually have a knack for anything that catches your interest. For these reasons, you tend to hop between projects and lose continuity with what you were working on. In Scrum, many possibilities can be captured on the product backlog and can be revisited and refined until they make it into a Sprint. During each Sprint, all work is focused on a realistic Sprint Goal which will help you follow through with an increment that has made the product better.

ENFJ - The Giver

You have a special talent in understanding people and truly enjoy supporting those around you. The human element is important in every Scrum activity, but in Sprint Retrospectives it is the sole focus. During Retro, the team discusses how they work together as a unit. The rich understanding you have of your teammates, and your desire to support them, helps everyone receive the most benefit from Sprint Retro.

ENTP - The Debater

You have a rational and logical brain that is constantly generating ideas. You are excellent at communicating those ideas and seeing how to develop them. Paying attention to Sprint Goals helps you keep incrementing the product in the right direction, and by taking work in Sprints, you succeed in following through with your designs.

ENTJ - The Commander

You enjoy and excel at leading people toward a common goal. Scrum helps you because frequent Sprint Reviews make it possible to inspect the product and ensure growth in the right direction.

ESTJ - The Director

You are practical, highly organized, and excellent at communicating. Scrum helps your work by concentrating all of the potential work of the product into a single artifact, the Product Backlog. For you, having this single, ordered, continuously updated collection of stories gives you what you need to communicate and deliver on development.

INTP - The Thinker

Your mind is constantly seeking clarity in the world's complexity. You love new ideas, especially if they help you improve one of your favorite personal theories. You develop elegant and effective solutions to problems but hesitate to release them because you believe you can further perfect those solutions. Scrum is helpful to you because it imposes time boxes that force you to share your brilliant ideas into the world.

If you’ve ever wondered how to flourish while using Scrum, try out these tips created with your unique personality in mind! Plus, if you need help activating Scrum within your organization, don’t hesitate to reach out to BreakFree for assistance.

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