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No Scrum without the Gilbreth Couple

Learning by experience, developing problem-solving skills yourself, reflecting on your successes as well as your failures in order to become better – that’s Scrum, a principle of agile teamwork. What Scrum has to do with MTM was explained by Jan Fischbach in his dinner speech on the occasion of 60 years of MTM in Germany.


Learning through experience. Develop problem-solving skills on your own. Reflecting on the successes, but also the defeats, in order to become better. All this is Scrum, a principle of agile teamwork that has long been used not only in software development, but for the development of the entire organization. One person who knows Scrum particularly well and has integrated this principle into a concept of Healthy Organization is Jan Fischbach. We were able to win the Scrum trainer and consultant for a lecture on the occasion of the 60th founding anniversary of the German MTM Association, now MTM ASSOCIATION e. V..

What Scrum and MTM have in common
According to Jan Fischbach, Scrum and Lean Thinking have common roots – and a connection can also be made between Scrum and MTM. While researching which people have historically contributed ideas to Scrum, Jan Fischbach came across Taylor and Gilbreth, among others.

Frank Bunker Gilbreth (1868 to 1924), American contractor and pioneer of the study of motion, had laid the foundation for the development of the MTM process. In optimizing work processes in his company, he was concerned not only with increasing work performance but also with more efficient work processes, i.e. well-designed workplaces and effort-saving, low-strain work. In a large number of studies, he found that the time required to perform a work task depends on the method selected. Methods-Time Measurement (MTM). Together with his wife Lillian, a psychologist by training, Frank Bunker Gilbreth eventually founded a management consultancy. The subject of Lillian’s doctoral thesis was the psychology of management.

The U.S. American Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 to 1915) established theories for optimizing work based on three principles: precise guidance, there is only one optimal way, and money as a motivating factor. Lillian and Frank B. Gilbreth also lectured in the Taylor Society, which was dedicated to spreading scientific management.

Read the entire presentation by Jan Fischbach here (in German).