Author: Eugenio Bartolo

The Godfather’s Agile Approach

With no doubt The Godfather is one of most popular films of the 20th century.  Inspired by Mario Puzo’s famous novel, winner of many awards and directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1972, the film featured actors like Marlon Brando and a young Al Pacino as the leaders of a fictional Mafia family based in New York.

I have seen this film several times, maybe because I am a Southerner Italian (not a Sicilian though, sorry to disappoint) and there are so many stereotypes in the movie that made me giggle – the accent of the different characters, the gestures, the big wedding with many people having loads of food and wine and dancing the regional songs.

After seeing the movie for the 10th or 11th time, I have realised that the Corleone family can be seen as a proper business and its members as the members of a Scrum Team.

Why do I think the Corleone family operates in an Agile way of working?

The Values

When you see the movie, you can easily recognise in the Corleone family the typical Scrum’s values: courage, respect, openness, commitment and focus.

You can see the courage when the Picciotti (the soldiers in a Mafia organisation), on behalf of the Godfather, go and risk their lives to accomplish the missions for the benefit of the family.

Respect is key – since the Godfather is the most important member of the family, everybody respect him.

Openness is a fundamental value of the Corleone family: within the core family they are open and honest.

All the members of the Corleone family have a strong commitment to do what the Godfather wants – at all costs, even if this means losing their own lives.

Last but not least, they focus only on a few things at a time and produce a very good work together.

As a result, the Corleone family is the most successful amongst the New York five crime families.

The Team

After recognising the values of the Corleone family that can be related to those of Scrum, let’s try to identify who are the members of a Scrum Team within the Corleone Family.

I can see the Godfather as the ultimate Product Owner.

The Don is the man who has the interests of making the family even more powerful and defeating the competition.

The family’s faithful Consigliere, Tom Hagen, is the ScrumMaster. Tom, a lawyer, makes sure that everyone in the family embeds the family’s values (as described above) and works well. Tom is responsible