New Generation Scrum

Scrum has been around long enough to be considered a mainstream project control methodology.

Companies that have successfully adopted Scrum have prospered. And a lot of companies, ours included, have attempted to make money by providing tools to help with adoption and use of Scrum.

As with all other areas of human endeavor, Scrum is being analysed and probed. Some people are suggesting changes; either small and still calling it Scrum, or large and calling it something else.

I particularly like some of the suggestions in proposals like Scrum-ban and I’ll come back to the reasons why later.

Other people create proposals and change the name completely; just today someone suggested I create a new acronym. About as far as I’ll go are the ‘scrumptious’ workshops I’ve run.

Although these other ‘improvements’ or suggestions threaten to splinter Scrum, it’s the tools that I think are the biggest threat to the growth of Scrum.

And that’s a paradox. Tools are designed to make a job easier, right? Not in the agile world. Let me point out the first line of the Agile Manifesto, which is:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

My opinion is that anything that takes away the power of individuals in a Scrum project to change the way they do things is taking away from the essence of Scrum. Even the act of accumulating and documenting best practices can end up being used by traditional project managers as ‘the way we do things around here’. These best practice can turn into worst practices if the environment changes. Change is inevitable, and that’s the fourth line of the manifesto :

Responding to change over following a plan

Recent discussions suggest that Scrum, like several other agile control methodologies is not actually a methodology, but a framework. It’s the ‘introspection’ that is important.

In the discussion the article by Esko Kilpi is highlighted. Esko makes it even more clear.

Interactions are important. If we are to deliver software to the customer (the second and third lines of the Agile Manifesto ) with a team then the team must interact.

We need to go back to the Scrum basics and bear in mind the Agile Manifesto.

And that’s the reason I liked some of the things in Scrum-ban. It’s not modifying the essence of Scrum; the major players are present, and there is still a cadence even though it is overlapping. It’s the use of the Kanban chart to aid in interactions that attracted me.

The phrase Information Radiators is used to describe these things.

I call them big boards. Big White Boards that everyone can see, all the time.

Big boards are an essential part of the team and no tool, even though it fosters distributed development, can replace them.

So, New Generation Scrum is actually a Back To Basics Scrum.


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