Common Mistakes and Misunderstandings

or, How to Fail with Scrum

Error: Not a self-directed team; managers or Scrum Master direct or organize the team The urge may be strong during an iteration to tell or suggest to team members how to work, or solve a problem. Many managers are used to an emphasis on directing and planning, rather than their role in Scrum: To quickly remove blocks, provide resources, act as a firewall to the rest of the organization, and otherwise stay out of the way. This is especially true for the Scrum Master during the Scrum Meeting, when there is a natural tendency for the team to look to a leader for direction and solutions.

Error: No daily update of the Sprint Backlog by members or daily tracker Self-explanatory.

Error: New work added to iteration or individual In a sea of constant change, some stability is required. Not changing the requirements for an iteration, once begun, is Scrum's point of control.

Error: Product Owner isn't involved or doesn't decide Scrum is customer driven; the Product Owner needs to decide what the Product Backlog priorities are and choose the requirements for the next iteration.

Error: No Sprint Review Feedback and adaptation drive Scrum; the demo and review are needed to inform the customers, so they can steer the next iteration.

Error: Many masters Scrum requires one voice on the Product Backlog requirements, priorities, and work for the next iteration: the Product Owner.

Error: Documentation is bad Scrum isn't anti-documentation; discussion of project workproducts is simply outside the scope of its definition. As with all agile methods, non-code workproducts are expected to add real value, rather than be created for the sake of following a process formula.

Error: Design or diagramming is bad Scrum is pragmatic rather than doctrinaire on the team's approach to design: If they find value in some pre-programming design or diagramming work during an iteration, it's done.

Error: Full team (including customers and management) not briefed in Scrum and its values Self-explanatory.

Error: Scrum Meeting too long or unfocused Keep it below 20 minutes, and focused on the Scrum questions.

Error: Iteration doesn't end in an integrated and tested partial product An iteration doesn't just finish on the end date. The goal is that all the software has been integrated, tested, and baselined.

Error: Each iteration ends in a production release Although a Scrum iteration may end in a production release, it is not a requirement. It may require many iterations before readiness.

Error: Predictive planning; PERT chart planning As with all IID methods, it is a misunderstanding to create a plan laying out exactly how many iterations there will be for a long project and what will occur in each, or to create a PERT chart identifying many tasks, their order and estimated duration.

You Know You Didn't Understand Scrum When...

Some of the key misunderstandings expressed as a checklist:

  • You think a manager or Scrum Master should tell the team what to do, or how to solve its problems.

  • Customers are not involved in each iteration, not prioritizing requirements, not attending each demo, and are not choosing the highest business value set for the next iteration.

  • New requirements or extra-project tasks are added to team members during an iteration.

  • You create a plan laying out how many iterations there will be for the project, and what will occur in each, and think you can enforce it.

  • You create a PERT chart or a plan of dependent, ordered tasks, with estimated durations.

Agile and Iterative Development (Agile Software Development Serie. A Manager's Guide2003)
Agile and Iterative Development (Agile Software Development Serie. A Manager's Guide2003)
Year: 2004
Pages: 156 © 2008-2017.
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