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Old school project management rules – 5 reasons to implement Scrum

Last post 02:19 pm June 4, 2016 by Marc Smeets
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02:19 pm June 4, 2016

Dear partners in prime, I'm sure you all know lots of complaints when Scrum is about to be implemented. People are just used to the old approach, sometimes just don't like anything new or complain about losing the titles they are proud of, e.g. 'Lead Developer, 'Lead Architect', 'Lead WhatsoeverYouMightFancy'.

All of a sudden, people are expected to be self-organized and work cross-functional, everyone in the development team working on the Increment is just called developer. That's of course unheard of. No more chief finger pointer? How's that going to work?

Well, I at least heard all this and even more, so I developed kind of a way out to make sure people understand the difference Scrum actually makes when properly implemented.

I dealt with quite some old school project management during my career, so I just say something like “Ok, you know what?! You guys just don't like Scrum? Or are maybe just too lazy to learn something new? Maybe without even thinking about it? Ok, fuhgeddaboudit, we're going to do it the way you're used to; I'm going to be assigned Project Manager instead of Scum Master, so here are my project management rules, in force as of now.”. Including explanations, of course.

My old school project management rule book:

1. “I won't leave alive.”
=> There's no way to make me leave or get past me. I organize and rule, you guys obey.

2. “Do what I say, not what I do.”
=> The way I go about my business is not yours, what easily leads to 3.

3. “Because I said so.”
=> I rule. Period. Let those Scrum people attempt to be self-organizing. I wouldn't even listen to funny ideas or suggestions.

4. “Try for 1 and you're going to get 3.”
=> Annoy me just once with any suggestions or pipe dreams or even pulling work items and making estimates yourself and you're entitled to 3 punishments I as your Project Manager will easily come up with. Maybe some overtime for a start, or I will have you debug HTML instead of coding Java.

5. “If you don't have the balls, stay clear.”
=> That's maybe the golden rule of my project management style. If you can't take hardship, just stay at home or at least clear of my project. And of course get out of my way. I expect proper hardcore fellas. There's no crying in software. Period.

So, what do you think, my dear Scrum people? Any takers? Guess what, up to now nobody has ever preferred trying my Viking style project management, everybody was happy to give Scrum a try and I have never heard about any regrets or complaints once we got Scrum up 'n' running. Scrum actually makes quite a difference to old school project management, doesn't it? Sometimes, one just has to show it.

Have a nice Day!

Marc Smeets, Project Manager turned PSM