#GOTOCPH Day 1, What Sucks About SCRUM

In: Events

22 May 2012

Alexander Grosse (@klangberater) from SoundCloud

Alexanders talk on SCRUM, was more in line with what I would expect at GOTO Copenhagen, lots of methodology and theory, at least that was my experience and impression from attending last year.

The title of Alexanders talk had intrigued me anyway working in an organization considering SCRUM as one the methods to be used for future projects, so getting some practical advice seemed like a good idea.

Alexander stated quite early that the idea of SCRUM is evil depends on the eye of the beholder. He does however not regard SCRUM to be totally evil nor an agile methodology. More like a repetitive waterfall model and moving away from SCRUM to a more agile approach seemed like a good idea for Alexander and his colleagues.

Seeing Alexanders point on SCRUM is quite easy if you read (or re-read) the agile manifesto and it’s principles.

Alexander did however not want to bash SCRUM, just high light some of it’s good and bad features or lack of. Alexander mentioned the following good things about SCRUM:

  • visibility (SCRUM board)
  • backlog concept
  • focus on delivery, risk and budget
  • less barriers
  • sprint retrospective is important for addressing technical debt
  • the role of the product owner (critical according to Alexander)

Alexander have experienced success with a mix of Kanban, agile principles and continuous delivery to get to where his organization was today. Kanban had proved magnificent at visualizing (and limiting) a multitude of concurrent ”work in progress” tasks.

He did also question the role of the SCRUM master and he mentioned the concept of self-organizing teams (preferably a-teams), where the role of SCRUM Master can be eliminated, letting responsibility rest on team members for activities like removing impediments.

SCRUM suffers from the lack of software engineering practices, so believing that SCRUM alone can address your software development issues is naive. SCRUM has some features and quirks, which does point to a more siloed and therefor less agile methodology.

Alexander provided a very simple way of determining the agility of a given methodology, focussing on the key principle of continuous delivery. If a can support this and your organization can do it – you might be truly agile. The issue here with SCRUM is the sprint reviews, since these block for continuous delivery.

(cross posted from logiclab.jira.com)

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