Agile is not Scrum
Most people who read this blog will not find the title of this post a revelation. I know firsthand, however, that this is not the case for many.
I recently had the privilege of facilitating a Birds of a Feather session at PDC. The title of our discussion was “Agile – Triumphs, Teams, Trials, and Tribulations” and really just provided an opportunity for attendees to share stories. The session was extremely popular. So much so, in fact, that a fire marshal showed up to remove a few people from the room.
Cool, eh? Here is that not-so-cool part.
About 35 minutes into this discussion, I realized I hadn’t heard a question or comment that wasn’t related to Scrum. I asked the room, “How many people are on an agile team that is NOT using Scrum?”
5 hands. Seriously, out of about 150 people of so. 5 hands.
What in the world?
Is this simply a sign that Scrum won in the marketing wars? Is this just because some people have heard about Scrum? What’s the root cause of this?
Is it the C-word (certification) that goes along with the 2 day CSM course proving you didn’t die midway through class? Is it the fact that there are some MS Press books on the subject? Is it the fact that there is a soon-to-be-released Scrum Developer course endorsed by Microsoft?
I am not bashing Scrum, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. In fact, I find that Lean with a Kanban system is typically far more effective in medium to small organizations. I am just incredulous that Scrum is so ubiquitous in the Microsoft-stack enterprise.
Scrum does not define agile software development. It drives me crazy to hear someone say, “We are doing Agile. We have Sprints and everything.” I assure you, dear reader, 2 week time boxes does not an agile team make.
The other thing that really fries my chips is that something south of 20% of people who profess to be using Scrum actually are doing so. I have seen so many ScrumBut implementations I have started to expect it in any company that claims to be using the process.
My standard advice for any team is to implement a process without modification for at least 3 months before they think they understand it ell enough to tune it to better fit their needs. Of course, no one does this because “we are different”.
Yeah, sure you are.
The bottom line was stated perfectly in the BOF session by Simon Bennett.
“Don’t tell me by-the-book doesn’t work without at least reading the entire book.”