Agile’s “Definition of Done” can’t save you
art yerkes

I don’t believe what you’re saying is necessarily at odds with what I am saying.

I can make my point in a different way: a matrix organisational structure like the Spotify model aims to solve the same problem by saying that a worker should be held equally accountable for both the what and how of his or her work. In the Spotify model, this means that each person is subject to what the PO wants (the ‘what’) but at the same time also subject to what the guilds and chapters want (the ‘how’). By having those two forces aiming for different goals (‘what’ focuses on value creation and ‘how’ focuses on quality), you get an optimal balance of the two.

My point was simply that Scrum, unlike the Spotify model, does not have a built-in mechanism to ensure that ‘what’ and ‘how’ be kept in balance. In fact, it seems to give more weight to ‘what’ than to ‘how’. Scrum could take some steps to correct this imbalance by elevating the ‘how’ (through constructs such as the Definition of Done).

That being said, the Spotify model is also not perfect, but at least it tries to balance the ‘what’ and ‘how’ concerns.

There are also perspectives that advocates optimising for different aspects at different times of the product lifecycle. Kent Beck’s 3X, for example, suggests spending way more time on ‘what’ in the beginning of a product’s lifecycle, and conversely spending more time on ‘how’ in the end (once you’ve already locked in a market for your product).