Scrum For Warfighters
by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kelcey Seymour
The Marine Corps continues to look at new ways to adapt to an
ever-changing environment through problem-solving.
recently completed the first iteration of Scrum for Warfighters
course on Camp Johnson, North Carolina on August 16, 2019.
"Scrum for Warfighters course is our best effort to change the way
we adapt to tough problems," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jon Haase, the
lead instructor for the course. "We solve the things that matter
most and enable Sailors and Marines closest to problems to have the
Haase implemented Scrum while he was in
command at Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, in Norfolk,
August 16, 2019 - U.S. Marine
Capt. Jon Margolick, the Playbooks Lead for NavalX, tells
the participants how mission fits into the Scrum Warfighters
Course at Camp Johnson, North Carolin. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kelcey Seymour)
“Scrum” is a process of identifying goals or problems and working
as a team with a singular end state in mind. Transparency and open
communication keep everyone on track with what they are doing and
why. This allows members of the team to assess the effectiveness of
their actions and adjust constantly to improve.
running a civilian company, you have your users to keep you honest,"
said Capt. Jon Margolick, the Playbooks Lead at NavalX, in the
office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research,
Development and Acquisition. "If you are spending time on things
that don't matter to them, you're going to find out quickly. When
Marines are in theater, we have opposing forces to keep us honest.
If we aren't doing things that matter, or if we're not executing
well, we find out about it really quickly. At home, we need other
ways to constantly assess what’s working and what isn’t. Scrum is
The process was developed in the early ‘90s for
software and computer development but has since evolved to encompass
problem-solving techniques in areas such as schools, marketing,
autonomous vehicles and much more. Pockets of the Department of
Defense have adapted Scrum for U.S. Forces due to the effective and
sustainable results in work productivity it has produced, according
"Scrum is an agile methodology," said Margolick.
"It's agile due to having to constantly assess and react to changes
in your environment. Some of that is, how do my actions affect the
world? What opportunities, threats, and barriers is the universe
throwing at me that I need to be aware of to be good at what I do?"
Students can expect to learn in an unpredictable environment on
an equal playing field, leaving their military ranks outside the
classroom. Scrum breaks away from traditional problem-solving tools
and offers exercises that demand action. The real test will come
when they return to their respective units: Units successfully
implementing Scrum can expect to do twice the work in half the time,
with metrics to prove it.
August 16, 2019 - U.S. Marines
work together to create a plan for one of the projects in a
Scrum Warfighters Course at Camp Johnson, North Carolina. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kelcey Seymour)
In his planning guidance, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen.
David Berger says, "For the Marine Corps, meaningful innovation is
not just having great thoughts and concepts. Rather, it is about
translating great thoughts and concepts into action."
for Warfighters course is the second course in a set of three
offered by the Center for Adaptive Warfighting. Scrum is a course
offered once a month with 20 seats per class. This course is
recommended for leadership, staff and officers, but will be
available to non-commissioned officers nominated by their command. br>
"Innovation is figuring
out how to solve problems that matter to somebody," said Margolick.
"How do we find out what makes a difference? How do we find things
that aren't working as well as they can? We need tools to do those
things and Scrum is an answer."
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