It’s a pity if someone makes only a couple of blog posts in a year. This time it has been more than a year for me and no blogging. Reading has taken over all contribution instincts. Coming out of that mould needs something as powerful as this blog post from Jesse.
With that premises, you would expect some Scrum bashing in this post. If you do, I would not disappoint.
I have myself been a Scrum guide for a development group of reasonable size. It started very well with very good intentions. And people including myself have spent years in making sure it clicks. But if I look back at the years we have been doing Scrum, am I satisfied, or even content about the usage of Scrum? May be not very much.
There are many reasons why Scrum doesn’t work. Or doesn’t work as good as it should. When you see from the Indian context, you discover many more reasons why it becomes chaotic.
In my View Following are only few of the reasons:
Agile or Scrum focus on teams, and do not prescribe a lot for managers. In an organization where top is not light, the Scrum implementation is bound to face additional issues. Then you would surely listen someone shouting “Hey, Scrum doesn’t say there is no need of managers”. I think it creates chaos. Top heavy organizations simply cannot get all benefits of Agile practices.
This is the most frustrating of the reasons for me, whenever I came across finding solutions for a Scrum related issue. Most of the people believe that “You adapt”, “You learn and improve”, “Anything working for others will not necessarily work for you” and blah blah. I am not saying all of this is bullshit. But it leaves a lot of room for all kind of people to experiment, many times pathetically with Scrum. Do we need a very strict set of instructions in Scrum to counter this? May be not, but keeping everything completely open definitely doesn’t work.
Scrum Alliance isn’t bad. There are very good people associated with that organization. Why I took the name of SA very first? Just because in my view they are most popular today in business of selling stupidly easy certifications on Scrum. They provide “Certified Scrum Master” or CSM. You also have Scrum.org who provide PSM certification. Then there is more: “International Scrum Institute” who are ready to give away their coveted “Scrum master accredited certification”. Today I believe most of this stuff is money making gimmick. My experience is that these programs are more focused on making money, not on making a certification program where only good people are able to get passing marks.
I attended a Pete Demer session years back. He told Indian people have somehting not found anywhere else. It is called JUGAAD. I am not going to provide any further explanation of it here, as I think it’s more of an insult than recognition. This Jugaad has indeed given rise to many problems. One of those problems is resistance for orderliness. Due to our pro-jugaad mindset, we in India tend to seek for “exceptions” in everything. For example, if we find it very difficult to get work done in some government office, we seek if it is possible to grease palms of some Babu to get work done quickly. Scrum also suffers due to this mindset. We tend to seek exceptions in every necessary ingredient of Scrum.
Many other things are coming to my mind right now. I remember Jesse delivering a talk in Agile NCR a few years back, where he beautifully explained how Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Lean etc are typecasted and why all of them are processes, not “tools” or “methods” or “practices”. I wanted to to see that ppt today, but unfortunately couldn’t find on web. When I was attending that talk, I was thinking how a “Certified Scrum Coach” can say such things. It needs courage and Jesse had that, at that moment.
What I have mentioned today is not all I wanted to say. There is more. Rest for some other time, on the same topic.