Scrum and New Year Resolutions

by Sampath Prahalad

New year resolutions are like a Release in the Waterfall model. Planning up front, execution there after, no mid term review, stays alive for anything from a few hours to a max of 6 months.

Drifting a little, Scrum in a nutshell is about

  • Frequent small releases
  • Review at the end of each Sprint
  • Continuous process improvement

Now, back to bridging the two…

Here is how we can make the resolutions last longer, make them more predictable and that much more achievable.

Extending the principles of Scrum to New Year resolutions, I suggest having new Resolutions each month.

  • At the beginning of each month, I shall make few (a max of 2) resolutions, write them down, and resolve to follow them for the current month. (Equivalent to Sprint Planning)
  • Once finalized, I shall print it out or write it down on a sheet of paper (A4 or bigger) and stick it up at a place in my bedroom or office cubicle (as long as the resolutions are not too personal).
  • Once a day (at dawn or dusk), I will check against the sheet of paper stuck up to see where I am with the resolutions. (Daily Scrum)
  • Towards the end of the month, I would list the resolutions that I want to have for the next month. (equivalent to ‘grooming the product backlog’)
  • At the end of the month, I shall review the results (equivalent to Sprint Review)
  • Also, do a reality check on whether this monthly resolution stuff really works (equivalent to Sprint Retrospective)


  • There is an opportunity to have small achievable SMART resolutions once every month. The idea is that 12 – 18 small resolutions that work are better than 2-5 big resolutions that never get implemented.
  • If a resolution breaks, we dont have to wait a whole year to set up another set. At the beginning of the next month, the next set starts getting implemented.
  • Monthly introspection leads into more mature and measurable resolutions over a period of time.
  • Easier on the mind if you have to do something new for 30 days rather than 365.

In Summary, switch over to from ‘Once a year’ resolutions to Monthly Resolutions for more predictive results and measurable progress.


2 Comments to “Scrum and New Year Resolutions”

  1. This is great way of setting up the resolutions…Will try to follow this methodology and see how I can progress.

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