Mad Scrambles happen when “something” big is happening.
Not everyone has a good idea of what the “something” is, what it means or what the impact on the work is. In short, the team all has a different view of what it is to be done.
As a result, the team starts going in various directions doing what they think is right to fix that something which ends in everyone going in different directions (i.e., the scramble).
The mad part occurs when we throw in a delivery date or a metric that needs to be met as not only are people worried about the “something” but how they are going to get it done to meet that metric.
Hence, in the Mad Scramble, everyone running around trying to do something that they are not sure what they are doing, in short, what is the problem we are trying to solve and for what?
When you’re in the middle of Mad Scramble, you don’t care what everyone else is doing, just that you must be on the same path so why are people doing something else – you can’t see outside your own scramble.
But on the outside, looking in, you can see it for what it is – chaos, a team disjointed, not focused, spread thin trying to hit a goal they don’t if it exists or even if it should.
They are lost to what they think they should be doing and taking a moment to step back and think about is seen as a failure or delay in accomplishing what they are doing.
As the leader, when you see this happen, the best thing you can do is hit the brakes, pull the cord on the line and reset the team as to their focus and direction.
Mad Scrambles work when you are trying to introduce chaos and confusion, not when you are trying to deliver it, no one wants to deliver chaos