Is Scrum working for you?

When your only tool is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.

What I have noticed are teams being ‘square pegged into a round hole’ being made to use Scrum, solution-ed and influenced to by leaders. Without truly understanding if it is right for the team. They don’t deeply understanding the work type, complexity, plan-ability and team capability. I empathise with the leaders trying to help and improve the teams by providing support to implement new ways of working. But the solution for the team might not be. The intention is good but the result not so much. Scrum is not a silver bullet, nor is Agile.

This brings me back to leaders not deeply understanding what problems are or what they are trying to solve. Are they trying to fix a problem that is not really a problem? If it is a problem are they consulting with the teams? If its a experiment to try ‘Scrum’ or ‘insert Agile framework’ is it working?

Agile and Scrum is not easy as following as set of motions and expecting it to work. Telling your teams what to do and go forth to ‘Scrum’ or Agile is not going to make you Agile. You will need to carry this and with support of the Agile champions (believers) to embrace the mindset and model acceptable Agile behaviours and carry the Scrum values.

Why your might Scrum suck

  • Not understanding the difference between Agile, Scrum, Lean, {insert Agile framework of choice} by managers. For managers – Agile equals Scrum.
  • Hierarchical position in the organisation or current roles predicting roles in this brave new world of Scrum
  • Pointing fingers to choose Scrum Master’s or Product Owner’s. Without deeply understanding the ability to and/or desire to do the roles
  • Copy and Paste. “That team over there are going really well. They are using Scrum therefore we need to use Scrum”
  • Not embracing the Scrum values and Agile values/principles
  • Picking, choosing and skipping Scrum ceremonies
  • Wrong work type – we are in service delivery. Maybe Scrum is the wrong framework
  • More than 50% is unplanned and urgent work

These are somethings you may want to consider. You can still turn the ship around and make changes for the better. Talk to your teams, evaluate your options, experiment different frameworks for a few weeks – new ideas may emerge.