7 Oct
2010

Dear Silver Bullet Seeker

Category:UncategorizedTag: :

Dear Silver Bullet Seeker,

I understand that you want a guarantee that using a new development process will make everything better. Who wouldn’t want to claim great improvements with little to no effort on your part? Unfortunately, your team is likely comprised of human beings, which makes behavior non-deterministic, like your own. This means there is no way to accurately predict how much this new agile thing you are trying will work, if at all.

Your team can certainly understand Scrum easily. How it works, what steps to perform, and the tools the Scrum framework offers. As a manager, you can even learn how to work with the Team. This can be a life-changing event in your organization. It can also be another tangent you take for a year or so until you ultimately discard Scrum in favor of Yet Another Potential Silver Bullet. We know, after all, that it takes about a year for the average organization to admit that Scrum will not do their jobs for them. Then they try something else.

Teams and organizations that actually modify their behavior causing Scrum to thrive report increased value being delivered to their customers, deliberate progression in accomplishing goals, and improved quality in the products they ship. Teams dedicated to genuine change report dramatic changes in these qualities and improved culture within the broader organization. Best of all, Scrum-driven organizations report a renewed ability to proceed deliberately rather than reactively in their business.

Teams and organizations that merely declare Scrum is in place and continue exhibiting old behaviors are far more common than those who actually commit and change. This means very few teams ever realize the benefits of Scrum. It isn’t that Scrum itself is hard, but changing ingrained behaviors is. Indeed, more organizations misuse or fail with Scrum than succeed. This isn’t surprising because Scrum asks everyone involved to:

  • Work in a collocated or at least highly connected space
  • Self-organize to find the correct answer
  • Avoid interruptions with extreme prejudice
  • Commit to new behaviors
  • Jettison ego in favor of rational decision making
  • Trust that everyone will do their jobs to best of their ability
  • Follow the rules we all agreed on in the first place

So, Silver Bullet Seeker, just pass this all by. In fact, go ahead and criticize the process while pretending the fault of failure is not your own. That works for most people.

5 thoughts on “Dear Silver Bullet Seeker

  1. I think we are forgetting the “I will do anything you tell me to make me and the team more effective…so long as I don’t have to change”. That is the ultimate silver bullet.

  2. So, my guess would be there was there a specific client that pushed you over the edge on this one. Any more juicy details you can share? Or should they go over to the daily WTF?

  3. @Chris Tavares

    Actually, it was a simple discussion with an individual who claimed that everything was fine because they had hired a good agile consultant.

    We paid for it, so things must be going well. Things were not, as you might surmise, going so well, IMO.

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The opinions and content expressed here are my own and not those of my employer.