Everyone knows about Scrum-buts , but what about Scrum-nuts ?

Since I could not find any reference to this term on the first page of search results on Google , I am going to take the liberty of offering the first definition:

“Scrum-nut is a person- who is basically nuts about Scrum-  to an extent that he\she starts behaving like a nut.”

For a Scrum-nut,  Scrum is a religion- which needs to be practiced. Followed. And in some case fanatically.

Scrum is all about well defined processes- Stand ups, Retrospectives, Kick offs, Burn-down charts, etc.  I know ! I know ! We call them Scrum ceremonies. But we all know that they are really processes- right ? I don’t have anything against these- really. Most of them I find fun, useful and at times amusing. But what bothers me is when I see them become more important than the end result.

Listen to this…

Recently , I met a friend who told me about his first impression about Scrum. He said, it took him not more than couple of weeks to figure out how he felt about it.  In his words (more or less).. We had been working on a very hard to fix issue for few days. Finally one day, during the stand-up, the developer proudly announced that he has fixed the problem. The first thing he got to hear was -

Did you update Rally?

It’s not too difficult to visualize how this can happen (Visualize any religion that you know of and most likely, you can identify it with its ceremonies rather than its beliefs ). You start with a fascination for the Agile principles and when you decide to “install Agile“. Soon your focus changes from the principles to practices and more often than not, the practices becomes the ‘it’.

Isn’t it amazing that – we as Scrum practitioners can fall victim to our own philosophy. Whatever happened to  ”Value individuals and interactions over process and tools” ?

Or does this not apply to Scrum ceremonies and Rally ?

I know Scrum is the best thing to happen to software development- right after cut-copy-paste. But seriously…is this the salvation we all have been waiting for ?Its easy to blame all your failures in Agile adoption to scrum-buts, but unfortunately being a pure Scrum practitioner will probably compound the problem rather than solve it.

I know I may sound like a non-believer, but I still have faith in Scrum. Actually this needs to be corrected. During my exchange with the same friend, I told him that I still appreciate Scrum. But when I started explaining why- I realized that its not Scrum that I appreciate, but the  Agile principles behind it.  I have little or no loyalty to Scrum. Show me something better and I will switch to that.

You can say- I am nuts about  software development but not for a specific methodology.

  • Nermin

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post Rajiv :)
    A nice side-effect: it is now #7 on the first page of search results on Google…

  • http://www.jonarcher.com/ Jon Archer

    I really like this, I think you’ve hit upon a great neologism that needs to be popularized. You’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head — practicing the ceremonies for the sake of them without really understanding or being guided by the principles is classic cargo cult scrum. I think to really “get” scrum and use it well one has to really develop a deep understanding of agile principles and values and then scrum provides a means to express them.

    P.S. Is there any more depressing question than “Did you update Rally?”

  • http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/GaryVarga Gary Varga

    It is amazing that there are people who fail to recognise a significant achievement when it is done. I am sure we could all offer examples. I like this article’s viewpoint because it doesn’t fall into the trap of blaming the methodology. Even though it would be ironic. It is truly the individuals who fail to recognise that the processes and tools are just props, regardless of how valuable, to aid us in our efforts to complete something. I hope your friend had colleagues on that team who congratulated them.

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  • http://www.rajivnarula.com Rajiv Narula

    @Nermin, Thanks ! Reg the post making to the first page of search results , I saw that too. That was surprising. Quite impressive (on their part) – I would say.

  • http://www.rajivnarula.com Rajiv Narula

    @Jon, IMHO, Agile was based on sound principles and Scrum is a commercial product.

  • http://www.rajivnarula.com Rajiv Narula

    @Gary, You are right. It has nothing to do with the methodology , more with how we ended up understanding and implementing it.

  • http://Www.Financialagile.com Jamie
  • http://www.rajivnarula.com Rajiv Narula

    @Jamie, Guilty as charged ! :)

  • Olivia Jennifer

    An agile process tends to focus on iterations, and
    client feedback, to allow for the inevitability of changing requirements
    whereas a waterfall process tries to define all requirements up front, and
    tends to be inflexible to changing requirements. You can learn more about agile
    and scrum by referring to some free resources
    (http://www.scrumstudy.com/free-resources.asp) provided by scrumstudy or by attending any agile scrum certification
    courses. I would personally suggest Agile Expert Certified course or a Scrum
    Master Certification
    to you.

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