What if Agile/Scrum does not make sense?

Last post 03:19 pm April 24, 2017
by Melissa Ritts
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12:30 pm April 21, 2017

Is there a time or situation where Agile and/or Scrum do not make sense?

Looking at a team who is a BAU sort of team. They produce work on a monthly basis that is consumed and output, but this is not new development type stuff. They are not delivering new functionality or new software. They have very fixed deadlines for when things need to be completed within their processing window. 

I'm having trouble seeing the benefit of changing the way this team works.

Also - they are not 100% dedicated to this product and also perform 24/7 on-call rotation schedules supporting 2 other products.

Please share your thoughts.

04:53 pm April 21, 2017

Yes, there are situations where Agile or Scrum do not make sense.  Agile is not a magic bullet.  Many projects benefit from Agile, but not every project does.

I would first question whether you're running a process or a project.  Are you creating a unique deliverable that generates an increment of value, or are you delivering a finished product at the end of each Sprint, and repeating it indefinitely?  If it's the latter, what benefit does an iterative framework give you over a clearly defined process/workflow?

I would also ask you whether your teams will benefit from being self-directed and value-oriented.  If a static, ordered checklist is conducive to maximizing client value, then what benefits would you gain or give up by making it dynamic?

08:33 pm April 21, 2017

The very first line of the Scrum Guide says "Scrum is a framework for developing and sustaining complex products".

What does that tell you about the situations for which Scrum might not be appropriate? What might the implications be for the BAU work you describe?

03:19 pm April 24, 2017

Thank you both for your input. I am of the opinion that Scrum will not work well for this team, but Kanban might. Their release schedule is based on the day of the month, so even trying to fit Scrum within their schedule would be difficult. The Definition of Done would change with every sprint.

But Kanban might give them the flexibility they need to deliver but also to increase transparency and progress.

To Jason's point, this is a process, not a project. 

I'm meeting with the PO later today to discuss.