Are you sick and tired of rigidity and attitude in the Scrum community? Me too. So is Scrum.org. Let’s get over it together so we can get some work done.
Stuff has been brewing in the Scrum world this autumn, and two big events aligned last month: the Professional Scrum Trainer global meetup followed by the ALM Summit. I’m not a PST (yet), but the impact of the meetup was unmistakable as fired-up PSTs stormed the Summit and they and Scrum.org rolled out both conversations and official sessions with some of the new messaging around Scrum.
My PST colleague Martin is tackling a number of the substantive changes in his blog (“Are you doing Scrum? Really?” and others). I think he captures well what I’m most excited about: the new language and the new approach do a lot to undo the rigidity and religious warring around Scrum.
To me, the first big hint of changes to come was when David Starr joined Scrum.org back in July. In his announcement, he pointed out that he’s “more pragmatist than zealot” and wrote favorably about a long list of practices that many folks in the process community have made out to be “competitors of” or “incompatible with” Scrum for some reason. I know David’s been involved in the Scrum.org world for a long time, but it struck me as potentially a big deal to have him officially on board.
In October, we got more evidence from Scrum.org that change was coming: “Scrum is Open for Modification and Extension“. A coder might initially say “open to extension, closed to modification”, so it’s interesting to think about why they didn’t. It’s gutsy for Scrum.org to put itself out there as willing to change the framework itself in response to community feedback. Modification is formalized, which means it does not seem to be an invitation for immature teams to pick and choose and throw out and make up practices willy-nilly and call them “Scrum”. I’m interested to see where that goes.
That brings us to the really big news: the death of Scrum But.
I have no doubt that Scrum But, as a concept, was intended to be helpful. I know this because I just finished co-authoring a slide deck built entirely around Scrum Buts: why your rationales are legitimate reactions to the difficulties of Scrum practice and should be heeded, and why a more thorough understanding of Scrum principles is almost always a better solution than a Scrum violation. I am certain I was trying to be helpful.
Seriously, in the space of two weeks I went from “the trouble with your Scrum But deck is that you keep refusing to spell it with two Ts” to “you’re gonna have to throw out that Scrum But deck”. Two weeks! Is this a Renaissance or a Revolution?!
Scrum But is dead. Long live the Scrum Curve!
I stole this from Martin because it’s awesome and it’s a much more useful way to illustrate the point that matters: Scrum isn’t a boolean, it’s a continuum. Teams may be doing Scrum to greater or lesser degrees. Yes! There is room for variability in practices that we can still call Scrum! Now, instead of clucking (get it?) at teams for being “Scrum But”, we can help them refine and improve their Scrumminess to improve their performance. Instead of all or nothing, we can fully support incremental adoption and growth over time, including extension practices (like from Kanban) that working together take teams to Scrumfinity and beyond.
Update: It’s a good day for a Renaissance! By delightful coincidence, Scrum.org rolled out their new front page today. I’m excited to be engaged with what’s coming next!