I remember when I first starting teaching Scrum. I would get really panicky when the odd attendee would go out of their way to find fault with everything I said. “What about architecture?”, “how do we manage legacy code?”, “that won’t work in our organisation” etc etc… I had times when I wondered that perhaps Scrum wasn’t going to work.
Over time I grew as a Scrum Master and realised that Scrum purposefully doesn’t have solutions for all problems. In fact it is specifically designed so it doesn’t have solutions for every possible issue. If it did it would be a hulking great methodology, not the elegant, nimble lightweight framework that it is. I realised that I actually didn’t have to answer those questions as I had nothing to sell.
Over a decade on now, I simply smile when I hear comments like this:
- But we have customers that demand fixed time, scope and budget!
- We have a really buggy code base so it is too hard to deliver each iteration
- Our business model won’t support incremental delivery.
- Our boss says we have to do all the requirements first before we start development
- Our organisation simply won’t invest in Test automation
- We tried Scrum, but found that all of a sudden business people had to get involved with software teams. This impacted their work so we stopped doing Scrum.
My standard reply is now “gosh, it must suck to be you!”
Scrum doesn’t have all the answers. And I don’t have all the answers. All I have is a framework which I use to help organisations increase transparency and with this make better decisions, based on empirical data.
What I do know though is that through the application of Scrum I have helped companies learn a lot about themselves. Together, when we work on the things they aren’t happy with, we have achieved incredible results.
Sometimes companies find it too hard to improve. And that’s okay too. They just need to remember Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results.
This software businesses isn’t easy. If it was then anyone would do it.