When is it worth it to do Scrum and when is it not?

Last post 02:18 pm February 11, 2016
by Edward Koziol
6 replies
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12:05 am February 8, 2016

Scenario:
Client doesn't provide a product owner
Client doesn't provide user stories
User stories/requirements are written/understood/aligned during a series of meetings with the client
Teams are small, often 1-2 QA/Dev per effort
Projects are often just 1-2 months of effort
Projects are done on a retainer

Future State:
Both the firm and the client are both wanting to move towards real scrum and real agile. They want to create 'agile squads' with real scrum masters and real product owners. It is very likely this dream will be actualized, but not yet.

In the interim. Is it worth it to do hold Scrum ceremonies? Without product owners? To track without user stories? Or for the Scrum Master to.. well.. make User Stories with the team, effectively just working together with 2-3 people to make technical user stories that they themselves will be doing? Is stand-up still worth it?

Some of my colleagues have said yes, lets try to be as Scrum(ish) as possible and it will be worth it because they will get a feel for it and be able to adjust to the real shift later. Part of me things agile training and scrum training sessions would be better then just doing it badly.

I could go on and on, but I think you guys probably get the idea by now. If anyone knows of any good resource, article, link, on this subject or another thread I missed in my search, I would love if you could provide it.

Thank you so much!

TL;DR: Is Scrum worth doing in an environment where you really won't be able to do it well at all? Is it at least worth it just to help get team members familiar with scrum?

08:47 am February 9, 2016

It all sounds very ambitions. Squads, Scrum master, Product owner etc. Perhaps it’s wise to first learn how to “crawl” (basics) before start sprinting. I think it’s important to find out why the firm and client wants to scrum.

Scrum is basically a set of best practices that will help you/ your team/ organization in becoming more agile when doing product development. If you (like you describe) are in an environment where “you really won't be able to do it well at all” (in other words you can’t execute these Best Practices) then more reason to adopt Scrum.

If the firm really wants to adopt scrum, then your sum up of all the shortage can be used as organizational impediments that needs to be tackled

11:48 am February 9, 2016

I failed twice trying to "do Agile" without a firm Management commitment for Agile. To me, the most important element in doing Agile is making it expected and safe for people to adopt it. And from my experience, they won't adopt it without that Management directive/support. Some will try to do Agile as they understand/interpret it; others will resist to certain degrees; others will just stay in their current worlds. In the end, they will never come together under a common, well understood Agile umbrella.

12:05 pm February 9, 2016

Usually people want change, but they don't want *to* change. Agile transformation is assumed to be something that will happen around the individual, where the requisite actions are for others to do. Management sponsorship is needed in order to overcome this misperception and to establish a necessary sense of urgency.

03:06 am February 11, 2016

Hi guys. I really appreciate your rapid feedback. However I think I was too verbose and failed to specifically ask my question.

Is it worth doing Scrum in a heavily impeded environment when missing essentials, or would it be better to just do waterfall or use some other framework/methodology?

10:03 am February 11, 2016

> Is it worth doing Scrum in a heavily impeded environment when missing essentials,
> or would it be better to just do waterfall or use some other framework/methodology?

The Scrum Framework consists of essentials, there is no padding. If you are missing any of them then you are not applying Scrum.

My advice is to focus on transparency first. Once the gaps to agile practice are evident, inspection and adaptation can follow and Scrum may be implemented.

02:18 pm February 11, 2016

I would not try Agile without a firm Management commitment.