Monday, October 20, 2008

Scrum by the book

Talking about Scrum I got an objection which sounded more or less "you speak just like a Scrum book, don't you have more practical insights?".

That gave me something to think about. Scrum is really simple: the customer provides a "single choppable neck", called the product owner, who is responsible for the project and decides what he wants (on behalf of the company, of course), the team produces it, the scrum master makes sure everything goes smoothly. They periodically meet and review what has been done and plan for the next iteration. (If you aren't satisfied with this, and if you don't know Scrum you should, go get this book).

So... what's wrong when I say the customer should be involved? Or that communication should be the basis of every project? or that you have to let the team do their estimates? or that management has to trust the team without telling them exactly what to do (or better, without telling them how to fulfil the customer's needs)? I really don't get it.

Sometimes you sound like a book because if you talk your talk AND walk your walk AND hit your target... well you have no reasons to not to. You studied it, you tried it yourself, you got a piece of the action. That's it. You have to know and follow the rules before you can break them, or else you would miss the consequences. I normally pick XP as an example, where people think they can easily remove some practices: you can be quicker avoiding documentation, but this is compensated by having a customer on site (this is now called whole team). Forget that and you're doomed.

Maybe it's just hard to accept that someone else succeeded in something in which you failed (and if someone asks about the problems you'd get combining Scrum and XP this could be true). Or maybe it's just a provocation. As (our) actions speak louder than words I simply took it as a compliment - even if I'm sure it wasn't.

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