An Experiment in Scotch

"I write to discover what I believe." Michael Lopp on Twitter

An Alternate Take On Scrum

An inter­est­ing read. It sounds like he’s def­i­nitely on a team where “Scrum” actu­ally means “Daily Sta­tus Meet­ing” and if so, then I totally sym­pa­thize. Lots of scrum meet­ings I’ve been involved with turn into glo­ri­fied sta­tus meet­ings and they suck. No one wants to stand up in front of your peers and say “yes­ter­day, I spent 8 hours try­ing to fig­ure out why we have seri­al­iza­tion prob­lems involv­ing WCF REST­ful web ser­vices and mobile tech­nol­ogy clients. Oh and I’ll prob­a­bly do it for 8 more hours today because I can’t really say when I’m going to be done.” That’s frus­trat­ing. But in real­ity, things like that hap­pen all the time on projects. In fact, they should prob­a­bly be expected.

If you have a good team, scrum should basi­cally boil down to “do you have any blocks?” When man­age­ment starts using the daily scrum to micro­man­age progress, the ben­e­fits have been lost. When scrum is a painful task to be com­pleted each day, noth­ing good comes out of it. The prob­lem is, the ben­e­fits of scrum are rarely described and elu­ci­dated to the team. Scrum should be a way to make sure noth­ing stands in the way of progress but it def­i­nitely should not be daily proof that progress has hap­pened in the last 24 hours. Progress in soft­ware is much like punc­tu­ated equi­lib­rium in evo­lu­tion, i.e. there are large peri­ods where noth­ing is hap­pen­ing fol­lowed by times of extreme pro­duc­tiv­ity. If man­age­ment expects the same steady con­stant progress through­out a sprint, I think they are con­fused about how soft­ware gets done. Of course, if we’re talk­ing about man­age­ment and not Scru­mas­ters or Prod­uct Own­ers or Users, chances are the envi­ron­ment is such that the process is already bro­ken long before daily scrum kicks off.

The Daily Pal­lia­tive: Lucky To Be A Programmer

1 Comment

  1. Hmmm…I find it less inter­est­ing than piti­ful. But then, any­thing Pow­er­ful in the hands of Rook­ies is dangerous.

    Dana’s reply in the orig­i­nal thread is the best.

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