Monday, 31 March 2014

Scrum is not a process

One of the most common discussion that always seem to pop up again an again, is whether Scrum /Agile is good or bad. I don’t know why but in most cases it’s starts with a claim that Scrum is not  good since it … and then state a reason. (or with the claim that Agile is dead),for example

Scrum is not a good process cause its not complete, it doesn’t define everything you need in order to succeed.
Scrum is not a good process. Team members are equal, each has his own set of skills and ability and treating them as equals will not work.
And although in many cases those argument make some sort of logic, what most of them are missing is that scrum is NOT a process. Scrum is a framework.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in silver bullets, I don’t think that there is one solution (process) that fits them all. Each project context is different. The people involved are different, the technology varies, the business domain changes. While there are common patterns of issues and behaviors that we can look for, at the end each project is a unique, and therefore will need a different way of doing things in order to succeeds. That’s what I love about Scrum (and Kanban and XP), they are flexible enough to handle most of the diversity you can find.

Scrum as a Framework

Scrum is just a tool. But a tool for what?
Many people consider scrum as a process for software development. That is, Scrum is a tool used in project management that will help you t create a product at th end. but that’s not exactly right.
Scrum is actually a tool for creating other tools, more specifically Scrum is the tool which you use to create a your development process. The process that you end up with after you “applied” the Scrum tool, is the “tool” you use to build your product.
Confusing? Yes? lets try again.
Normally this means, that in the process of using Scrum you take the company, the people/team, the technology and the product. those are things you feed into the Scrum Machine (along with many other things) and at the end after some time you get one new development process. that process is what you use in order to manage you project.

Scrum is not a Process

so what’s the actual difference? why the fact that scrum is a framework important?
When I see teams taking Scrum as a process, what many of them fails to realize that that there a lot of hard work involved. They start with using Scrum and expect that all of there problems will go away. They read the book follow everything that is written there to the best of there ability and they expect that everything will be fine. What then happens is that Scrum does what it was meant to do, it starts by surfacing all the underlying dysfunctions that have been will hidden there. That’s what Scrum does best.
In order for a team to create a good working process, it must resolve its dysfunctions. The Scrum framework was designed with the sole purpose of exposing them in order for the team to face them and find a working solution.
In fact, this is exactly the stage in which many Scrum adoptions fails. Its seem to be really hard, When a team starts using Scrum all kind of problems starts. So clearly if Scrum is causing all these problems it might not be such a good idea.
In some case the team will try to stick a little longer with the Scrum book. that usually doesn’t help. in other cases the Team will revert back to old habits that seem to have worked in the past. that doesn’t work as well. they either ends up in their old process (and then the claim that Scrum has failed) or they end end up somewhere else that technically looks likes a scrum based process, but in essence is not (a mini waterfall is one example)
Scrum book has no solution for dealing with bad coding, it state nothing about how to create a good flexible architecture. it doesn’t give you an idea how to handle two team members that simply cant work together,….

Knowing your tool

There’s a reason why most scrum implementation fails. Like any tool, one need to learn and practice using it. No one expects that his holes will be perfect the first time he picks up a power drill. right?
Managing a software project is a little bit more complex then that, and still people read the scrum book which seems to be simple enough and expects everything to work. It doesn’t, Especially if you confuse your tools. Especially if you think that Scrum has all the answers, Especially if you think that since defines three roles those are the only roles that you ever need on a project. Especially if you think that the 4 ceremonies are all the meetings you will ever need. Especially if you think that a daily meeting is just a daily status report, Especially if you think that you can continue writing the software like you ever did and still deliver something every two or three weeks, and I can continue for ever like this.
Especially if you fail to realize that when using Scrum you will need to work hard in order to create a working process for your team.
so one more time


Are you also
  • Feeling you can do a lot better?
  • Thinking there’s much more to Scrum and Agile?
  • Having a hard time Finding your place with the team?
  • Doing things you are not sure you fully understand?
Then come join our Product owner workshop on April the 30th.


Scrum master said...

Please refer to the line “Scrum is actually a tool for creating other tools” – I guess scrum framework needs to be implemented in a project to achieve the throughput whatever the end product may be. It is true scrum is extensively used for IT projects, but that is not the basic purpose or intent of scrum. The main highlight of scrum is iterative development of the product, so whatever the end product may be scrum framework can be implemented to get the desired results. What do you feel?

Unknown said...

I agree on it scrum is something else and people who actually knows the use of it they don't use anything else when its about their using, scrum team structure is what that helps a lot of people in organizing things in quite a better way the way it should be and it works.

Amani Phoenix said...

The first thing we have to be sure when dealing with SCRUM master is whether they have a full time Scrum masters, and the second question we have to ask is if what do they do?We usually don’t find a full time scrum master. Scrum master is described by scrum guide as one who teaches, facilitates and removes impediments. When the team is relatively new it takes time and the team follows scrum religiously. This is when the team needs a scrum master who can teach scrum full time.

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