The disastrous impact of bandwagonism on the good name of Scrum
And why you should look before you leap
Scrum has a bad reputation with many. Often this is for the wrong reasons, things that have nothing to do with the framework Scrum. We can come up with 100 awful ways to do Scrum. And we can come with even more if you challenge us to.
Scrum is victim of the bandwagon effect. It is a management fad, popular at C-level because it’s the latest and greatest around. People don’t want to miss the boat, often without understanding what it is and why it could be useful.
As with many fads before people jump on Scrum, half-hardheartedly try it, get disappointed by it and then join the bandwagon of Scrum critics.
Impact on Scrum
The result is that many of the Scrum implementations fail dramatically and with that Scrum is dismissed as hype that doesn’t deliver what it promised. Scrum gets a bad name.
People that want to adopt Scrum for the right reasons have an uphill battle to fight: many teams are weary, beaten to death by previously failed half-baked attempts to “do Scrum”.
What’s maybe even worse: people that like Scrum and as a result promote it are mistrusted as “they are only in it for the money” — Frank Zappa.
Scrum is a great framework. But it doesn’t fit all environments. For starters:
“Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products.” — Scrum Guide 2017 by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.
Before adopting Scrum these question require an answer:
- Are you aware of the system categories simple/obvious, complicated, complex and chaotic?
- Is your product (environment) complex?
Scrum also comes with rules:
“This Guide contains the definition of Scrum. This definition consists of Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and the rules that bind them together.” — Scrum Guide 2017
Here are more questions worth answering:
- Are you willing to follow the rules of Scrum?
- Do you KNOW the rules of Scrum?
I just quoted the first two lines of the Scrum Guide. It takes this amount of reading to understand what Scrum is useful for and what it entails.
Scrum may very well not be suited for your product!
Before adopting Scrum you need to:
- Understand your environment and the product that you wish to use it for;
- Understand what Scrum is, how to do it well and why this is the case;
- Look at what the alternatives for Scrum are;
- Then only: determine if Scrum is the framework for you.
Scrum could be your framework. It it a great choice for many teams, both within the software development world and elsewhere. But it could also be the wrong choice.
Don’t be a lemming. Think! And then decide if Scrum could be good for you.