The Scrum Team of Money Heist
If you’ve ever watched Money Heist, you’ll agree that the series quickly became a hit, turning into a phenomenon and reached thousands of viewers.
We’ll also see how a Scrum Team works, its characteristics and how it resembles the team from Money Heist.
Just like in a Scrum project, it all starts with a plan that aims to deliver a product. In the series, this product consists of entering the Spanish Mint and staying there just long enough to print a huge amount of money. This product was created by the PO (Product Owner), who in the program is the character known as “The Professor”. We’ll talk about him in more detail later.
For the goal to be fulfilled, a multi-skilled team who can work together is needed to deliver the product successfully. Then, the Professor selects his team, gathers the team members together to brainstorm the Planning and explain all the details of the product (heist). So we get to the start of the Sprint.
Scrum Team Members
As previously mentioned, each team member plays an important role and closely resembles the Scrum Team – consisting of: Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team. Let’s see the role of each person within the process of using the framework, while comparing to the characters in the series. See more details below.
Product Owner: The Professor
The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product, the result of the Development Team’s work. They prioritize the product backlog, being the only one able to define what goes in and out during the sprint.
The PO is not a committee, it’s a person, who can meet the interests of a committee or organization. But for this it’s necessary that every person in the organization is compliant to this and remember that modifications and requests must always go through them.
It’s easy to see the Professor as the PO of the team. He knows every detail of the plan, which may or may not go into the sprint. He stays outside the mint (the PO is a part of the Scrum Team, but not a part of the Development Team), organizing the plan and prioritizing what needs to occur at each turn. We can see their strong presence resolving the doubts of the team and showing the development team what is expected of the deliverable.
Throughout the sprints, The Professor needs to understand the value of the product evermore and often changes the backlog through external factors that end up hindering his plan.
Scrum Master: Berlin
Before we talk about Berlin, let’s understand the role of the Scrum Master within a Scrum Team. He’s the leader-servant, responsible for promoting and supporting the framework, as stated in the Scrum Guide. He helps the development team understand the processes and lead them on the right path to achieve the goal, by removing hindrances that arise along the way. He also makes the ceremonies easier and makes sure that they take happen.
In Money Heist, Berlin is the character who plays this role, guiding the team at each stage of the process. He guarantees that the Dailies happen at the right time, responding quickly to the changes that appear along the way.
Berlin removes the possible hindrances that can compromise the plan (with an overdose of violence and insanity, to be very clear!). This way, he allows everything to happen as planned. Always reminding everyone of the common goal, to become rich.
At a certain point in the series, Berlin shows the importance of following the processes. While many team members don’t respect the rest time-boxing and end up with a disturbed mindset, Berlin follows the steps strictly, does not lose his composure nor his performance.
Development Team: Helsinki, Oslo, Nairobi, Moscow, Denver, Rio and Tokyo
According to the Scrum Guide, the Development Team consists of professionals who produce a potentially releasable product increment, “ready,” at the end of each Sprint.
Do not confuse the Development Team with the Scrum Team, the former is part of the latter. The development team is the team who will work to produce the product increment.
The Development Teams are structured and authorized by the organization to systematize and manage their own work. So not even the PO, or Scrum Master, can tell how the work will be done.
One of the characteristics of the Team is multi-functionality, it has all the skills necessary to deliver the product.
In fiction, the team also puts the plan into practice and the self-management becomes apparent. It is a multi-functional team, for sure, it is able to do all the work necessary for the product (heist) to happen.
A landmark of the team’s self-management was that no one had to tell the character Moscow how he should dig the escape tunnel or how the character Rio would work with the security system. Only the team itself is able to tell how to do the job.
Throughout the series, we notice that many external factors end up affecting the team, and they need to respond quickly to changes, which is more of a Scrum team characteristic.
Remember the scene where one of the hostages needs medical attention? The Police send a medical team and a police officer in disguise with a wiretap. At the same time, another team enters via the pipeline, using the same clothes and masks as the hostages and robbers.
The PO realizes the change and the team responds promptly by changing their masks. Bingo! This action only makes the invaders look different. The infiltrated police officer does not hesitate, he calls the police, which causes them to retreat, avoiding a massacre and failure to deliver the product.
Money Heist makes the advantages of adopting agile practices in highly complex projects very clear. Efficiency, team work and respect for the Scrum guide are vital to get their hands on the Mint’s money in the shortest possible time.
We can say that at the end of the first season, with the need to finish the escape tunnel, after the team member responsible for this task left (Moscow), we noticed Rio and Denver taking over the excavation. The goal is to always deliver the product.
With this analysis, we noticed many characteristics of a Scrum Team present in Money Heist. The series at no time makes explicit the use of the Scrum, but there is no doubt that it’s a good match.
To better understand how the Scrum framework works in practice and learn the benefits of applying it to your business, download our Scrum Guide for Project Management.