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Peter Schuh coaches project teams and conducts trainings in the adoption and improvement of agile practices and techniques. He excels in both agile and traditional development environments (such as waterfall, heavy process and fixed cost). Peter is also the author of "Integrating Agile Development in the Real World," a field guild for software development professionals who aim to deliver useful and usable software in a timely manner. Peter is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 19 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Defensive Scrum Is NOT Agile

05.25.2010
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The business side of the house can be difficult at times. They can challenge our estimates, claim that work is not half as difficult as we make it out to be, drop last minute delivery requests in the middle of our development cycle, and even (in occasional fits of complete frustration) threaten to offshore the lot of us.

So, what’s a lowly, victimized development department to do?

Turn to Scrum, of course. And play defense. Specifically:

  • Recruit ScrumMasters to protect the teams.
  • When the new ScrumMasters wants to discuss what’s right for the company, stress that the ScrumMasters were hired to protect the teams.
  • Grab a hapless business person, hand him a Black Book, crown him product owner, and tell him his number one priority is to live PivotalTracker.
  • The Product Owner’s number two priority is to communicate every user need in the “as a … I want … so that” story template.
  • Threaten to take the teams on strike until there are 100 storied story points prioritized in the backlog.
  • Go flash mad the fifth time someone asks “what’s a story point worth?”
  • Remind business people that chickens are not allowed to speak at daily meetings.
  • Deflect complication and nuance by declaring big business ideas as too epic in nature to consider for development.
  • Threaten to abend the sprint every time the business wants to change something.
  • Demand that the ScrumMasters protect the teams by ensuring they are capped at forty-hour work weeks. Ignore the fifty-plus-hour work weeks that are saddled upon on the ScrumMasters. Scoff at the difficult working conditions of the business users.
  • Finally, don’t forget to whine vociferously that the business doesn’t get scrum.

You could call this Scrum. I wouldn’t. I’d call it an anti-practice.

Whatever you do, please don’t call it agile.

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Published at DZone with permission of Peter Schuh, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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Daniel Lourenço replied on Thu, 2010/05/27 - 8:04am

Great article Peter. One of the cornerstones of Agile is having "People over Processes". You are right - even if using Scrum, a "Scrum obsessed" team is _not_ an "Agile team".

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