Gonna keep this short and sweet… I’ve been practicing Scrum for about 7 years now. And in my experience, it just flat out works. It’s simple, fun, and it brings people together, which is something that can be hard to do in the IT business. We get stuff done. The quality is high (assuming we’re including Agile testing best practices, like automation, unit testing and TDD). And more importantly, we deliver to the customer what they want now, not something they asked for 12 months ago.
The beauty of Scrum, in my mind, is in our ability to inspect and adapt often. No more ‘death marches’. No more spending a ton of time up front (analysis paralysis). No more delivering a buggy product because we had a set date and only a small window to test. And no more producing something that isn’t used; a good Product Owner simply won’t allow it.
That said, Scrum is hard. It takes a change in mindset in how we work. As a former Project Manager, my days of defining a schedule up front and harassing people to meet unrealistic dates is thankfully over in my new role as Scrum Master. Scrum is based on reality. I’ve seen entire changes in corporate culture as a result of instituting Scrum. Folks don’t go back to their cubes, put their headphones on, and tune out for the projects’ entirety. We work together better in Scrum teams. We meet daily. We’re co-located. We talk. We understand each others’ issues and help resolve them straight away. We step outside our comfort zones. We have honest conversations, without repercussions. We trust each other. Transparency is high. It’s powerful. And best of all, it’s simple if people open their minds to new ideas.
Not everyone is a great fit for a Scrum team. I’ve experienced this first hand with folks who just don’t want to change. They don’t see the need. Admittedly, Waterfall still works for those more predictable efforts. But most software development isn’t predictable. In fact, it’s very unpredictable and requires a high degree of creativity and flexibility.
So yeah, change is hard; I get it; it’s human nature. But if you’re willing to let it, Scrum can be pervasive in your organization, given time to take root. Everywhere I’ve used it, most folks love it. It’s an easy sell to your boss if you want to champion it in your organization. Check out our Agile Sherpa site for more information if you’re thinking about making the switch, or just getting started.
For those of you who’ve tried Scrum and don’t like it, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Let’s get a conversation going.