ScrumBut... and the long run

Last week, I wrote about ScrumBut. I wrote that you don't need to fully implement Scrum before you can start to do good work. That you can start with improving little things. On the other hand, Mike Vizdos wrote Modifying Scrum – You THINK you know better.... There he writes that "Modifying Scrum is a bad idea.". So, who is right? Or, could we both be right? I think we can...

You have probably heard this - Maybe from Management: "We do scrum here. But (all tasks need to be tracked with $EXPENSIVE_TOOL | the daily scrum has to be at 9am sharp | no, your team can not have a company credit card | we will schedule "high priority" work at any time, not during sprint planning | you have to work in 12 week sprints | your are not allowed to discuss $TOPIC during retrospectives | we need the TPS reports ready on friday). This will not work in the long run.

Last week my focus was on quick improvements. I wrote:

What might help is trying to change the organization your team has to work in. You can convince your managers that your team needs a full time ScrumMaster. You can start to educate people in you organization about scrum. And this will (probably) work. But only in the long run.

The long run is important too. Sure, you should try to do good work now. But you should also try to change what is not working - Even if it takes some time.

Because, if you don't try to change these things - or if your organization prevents this change at all cost - the whole Scrum thing will look like a farce. Your team will become cynical. They will start using words like "ScrumBut" (Or, as a co-worker once suggested, "Srum" - It's a little bit like scrum, but not quite). The team will no longer believe that it is empowered. That they are allowed and encouraged to change.

And things will start to get worse from there. The teams might stop trying to change things. They might stop trying to improve. They might even stop trying to do good work. And then a vicious circle starts, because Management will conclude that scrum does not work. That more control is needed. A second TPS report on Wednesday.

So, yes, try to do good work with what you have. But never stop trying to change what you have - even if it will take some time.

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My name is David Tanzer and I have been working as an independent software consultant since 2006. I help my clients to develop software right and to develop the right software by providing training, coaching and consultanting for teams and individuals.

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