Create Knowledge

Organizational learning framework defined by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi in their book The Knowledge-Creating Company. 

… there are now various Scrum Teams who use Scrum in developing products, across departments and product lines. The various Development Teams are discovering what needs to be changed in the organization and how to change it.

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As the number of teams using Scrum grows, they will face impediments and create valuable knowledge on solving them in their specific setting. An organization that cannot transfer the created knowledge between Scrum Teams will decrease its learning and re-invent the same things over again. The organization as a whole will not accelerate its understanding on what needs to change and on how to change it.

People working in different teams across projects, departments and product lines are the pioneers of the change. These people operate at the front line where the Scrum way of working collides with the current habits. It is at this front line where the necessary changes in the environment become clear. Therefore the people in the Scrum Teams are in the premier position to discover the needed changes and innovate their way of working.

Changing to Scrum is successful when the Scrum teams themselves create the necessary changes and therefore are really committed and feel accountable for the changes. The path to Scrum adoption can therefore not be planned in full detail upfront and has to emerge.

The Scrum Teams need to share these discoveries across projects and departments so people learn from each other and the organization as a whole learns what to change and how to change.

The conditions for organizational learning are set when teams consists of people from different functions and departments. Organizations create knowledge when tacit and explicit knowledge are combined and shared among peers [Takeuchi-2006]. You need to set up a way for people to come together and make tacit knowledge explicit.


Form Optimization Teams consisting of people from the various Scrum Teams to capture the created knowledge so that the teams and organization can learn from it. The created knowledge is captured as Standards for Improvement.

These Standards for Improvement are not the standards you might expect. These standards are created not by ‘experts’ but by the people in the Scrum Teams. These standards are meant to change as learning grows.

“There is something called standard work,

but standards should be changed constantly… “

Taiichi Ohno

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Optimization Teams are responsible for optimizing cross-team knowledge creation. They increase knowledge creation so the company more quickly learns what and how to change. The Optimization Teams work as Scrum Teams and anyone can participate.

Examples of results from optimization teams:

Note that an Optimization Teams differs from a community of practice. An Optimization Teams is not about best practices and members are not necessarily experts or practitioners of the topic around which the optimization team has formed.

There can be Optimization Teams on testing, requirements, coaching, innovation, marketing, sales, coding, managing knowledge, Scrum and so on. There can be an optimization team on whatever topic the organization needs to learn!

Though these efforts can build on individual Scrum Teams' Sprint Retrospectives, they do not replace the need for individual teams to make process improvement their primary focus. That, and the self-organization that makes it possible, are at the heart of Scrum.


[Takeuchi-2006]: Hirotaka Takeuchi, Moving Toward a More Advanced Knowledge Economy: World Bank Institute, 2006.