In the last decade, there has been phenomenal uptake of Scrum in the software industry. It has almost become a fashion statement for customer and vendor organisations.
Oh! Do you do Agile?
Yes! We use Agile, Scrum. We also have a hybrid method – best of both worlds (Agile and Waterfall)….
We often pretend that Scrum is a saviour for all our project management problems. Unfortunately, it is far from the truth!
The fact is that Scrum has much value to add. But it has its place!
Scrum is not a silver bullet
Let us stop pretending that Scrum will fix all project problems!
For example, the following are common project implementation problems. It does not matter if we are using Scrum or not. We must address these problems. Let us not assume that with Scrum, these problems will automatically resolve.
Let us have a look at a few common project management problems:
1. Lack of Big Picture understanding
Customer and software vendor organisations lack a Big picture view of the project:
- What is the project objective?
- How will the proposed solution help to meet its project objective?
- Who are the stakeholders? How to engage them?
- How to manage change?
Ignoring these vital questions, we start by cutting code within the Scrum framework. We often fool ourselves by assuming that Scrum will take care of it all.
2. No architecture
We often consider architecture work as waste. The common thinking is that the customer needs software, not an architecture diagram. So, let us start configuring and coding to get there asap. The thought process is that we are using Scrum, so we should be fine.
3. No Project Plan
Project Managers were already lazy enough to produce a proper project schedule. With Scrum, there is not even an attempt to build one.
The implementation teams are becoming more and more short-sighted. They are reactive to what is ahead in the next sprint. This mentality is crippling big picture thinking and extended team planning.
The irony is that while there is a massive uptake of Scrum, very few understand Scrum.
Scrum is not what you may think!
Scrum is like a religion. Religion has values and certain rituals that support them. Without values, rituals are meaningless.
Scrum sucks when we follow its rituals without living the values. For example, we do Daily Scrum, Sprint reviews without understanding its following values:
We do not even talk about the three Scrum pillars (Transparency, Inspections and Adaptation). Their implementation is too down our priority list.
Ignoring Scrum values and merely following Scrum rituals is behaving like well-trained dogs.
Look, each methodology has its philosophy and guiding principles (Core). Then, around the core, there are general rules and tools. Over time, the rules, and tools change, but the core stays the same. So, implement methodology by embracing its core.
How to implement Scrum the right way?
Note that clarity on the big picture and long-term planning is critical for a successful project. Scrum does not suggest ignoring these artefacts.
If we are serious about Scrum, the executive team must stop giving lip service and act. People in management needs to come out of their comfort zones. Scrum needs profound change management. The team culture requires a change, so they must start living the Scrum values and principles. It is a long-term commitment and investment, but the results are incredible!
Finally, let us not forget that Scrum is one of many ways to get stuff done. So, our focus should be on the project we are delivering, not how well we implement Scrum in the project. For instance, if the project does not solve the given business problem but we execute it with a perfect Scrum framework. It is still a failed project!
I hope this post will trigger discussions and you will take steps to improve the situation in your organisation. If you need help, do not feel shy to get in contact!