Why do many people say that Scrum is a bullshit?

A few years ago, Scrum and Agile became very popular. It became mainstream. Everyone wanted to work on this framework. However, something’s changing.

I remember when microservices were one of the most popular topics at many conferences. Everyone started talking about scalability and how cool they are. Because of that, many of those companies fell into the hell of microservices. Focusing on the tools that aren’t really appropriate for you at this time, can be even worse than not having it at all.

The same thing happened with Docker or NodeJS. Everyone wanted to use them, even though they weren’t ready for production. Including me. The same applies to Scrum, which is mentioned in the next paragraph.

The scrum

When I was working in a badly organized team I heard about Scrum for the first time. I fell in love with it. I wanted to introduce it to our company. I did my best but it was unsuccessful.

When I found a new job they said they were working using Scrum philosophy. However, they didn’t. We had the planning but the daily scrums weren’t daily. Sometimes I even wasn’t invited to standups!

In another team, they were very agile. There was a point where I felt what it’s really about.

Day after day I was more convinced that Scrum is the key. Sprint planning, daily scrums, estimation sessions, demos… Everything was how it should be and I was really happy about it.

I spent some time there but finally, I changed the team again. They said they used to use Scrum very carefully but decided to give up on some aspects of the Scrum because it did not work for them. I was shocked. After all, the scrum was very effective for me and I couldn’t imagine working in a different way, as it brings only pros and I experienced it myself!

I changed my mind when I noticed that the team didn’t have the problems I was afraid of. Surprisingly, they had no issues with team collaboration, helping each other and sharing knowledge. It would happen on daily basis. It turned out that the team can still be successful without the scrum and without following the scrum guide very closely! It made me think about it.

Scrum should be agile too

Every company is different, has its own culture and does its job in many different ways. The result is that the same framework doesn’t work everywhere.

Daily standups? Do they really have to be every day and does the team really have to stand next to a whiteboard or maybe a quick notice on slack/hangout would be enough? Remember why standups were originally introduced – to share knowledge about the progress of the team and let others know about the problems. If the team is able to do it even faster than 24 hours, do they need this kind of standup then? What about remote teams?  They can’t meet regularly. Standup on skype or slack can be successful and at some organizations it really is.

From my experience, standups work when you have all the team members in the same country. It becomes more and more complicated when they’re scattered all around the world. It’s possible to create subteams for every time zone but what if one team member lives in a different time zone? They have to wake up early or join the daily scrum at very late hours.

It’s important to emphasize that not every team needs Scrum. If the team is productive, the benefits of using Scrum won’t be so well seen. They should be agile but Scrum is not the answer to every problem.

Martin Fowler, one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto, has an interesting point of view. He says that scrum was designed and introduced by developers. This is the reason why they should promote the idea. It shouldn’t be an agile coach who has no clue how the team works and tells the team how they should do their job. That’s unacceptable.

You need to find good people who work together at a human level, in the human sense that they can collaborate effectively. The choice what tools they use or what process they should follow is a secondary issue.

Martin Fowler at InfoQ

The scrum is a process which should work how the developers want and not how the scrum coach expects. Especially if they have no knowledge about the team and the way they work.

Summary

Professionals know better how to do their job, be more effective and productive. Do you work using Scrum, Kanban, Waterfall or another methodology? Do you like it? Share your experience about them in the comments below.

Hi, I'm Bartek, founder of this blog. I am a developer since 2011. I love learning by teaching other people and this is my motivation for creating this website.
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