John Hines' Software Process Blog

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Monday, January 17, 2011 #

It's been interesting for me to dive a little deeper into Scrum after realizing how fragile its adoption can be.  I've been particularly impressed with James Shore's essay "Kaizen and Kaikaku" and the Net Objectives post "There are Better Alternatives to Scrum" by Alan Shalloway.  The bottom line: You can't execute Scrum well without being Agile.

Personally, I'm the rare developer who has an interest in project management.  I think the methodology to deliver software is interesting, and that there are many roles whose jobs exist to make software development easier.  As a project lead I've seen Scrum deliver for disciplined, highly motivated teams with solid engineering practices.  It definitely made my job an order of magnitude easier.  As a developer I've experienced huge rewards from having a well-defined pipeline of tasks that were consistently delivered with high quality in short iterations.  In both of these cases Scrum was an addition to a fundamentally solid process and a huge benefit to the team.

The question I'm now facing is how Scrum fits into organizations without solid engineering practices.  The trend that concerns me is one of Scrum being mandated as the single development process across teams where it may not apply.  And we have to realize that Scurm itself isn't even a development process.  This is what worries me the most - the assumption that Scrum on its own increases developer efficiency when it is essentially an exercise in project management.

Jim's essay quotes Tobias Mayer writing, "Scrum is a framework for surfacing organizational dysfunction."  I'm unsure whether a Vice President of Software Development wants to hear that, reality nonwithstanding.  Our Scrum adoption has surfaced a great deal of dysfunction, but I feel the original assumption was that we would experience increased efficiency.  It's starting to feel like a blended approach - Agile/XP techniques for developers, Scrum for project managers - may be a better fit.  Or at least, a better way of framing the conversation.


The blended approach.

Technorati tags: Agile Scrum