Was there Scrum *?

* Scrum (Scrum (n.)) Is a framework that helps solve tasks that change in the course of work in order to efficiently and creatively supply customers with the highest possible value.

Why I decided to write this article

Very often in a working environment, on the Internet and at interviews you can hear, for example, like this:
“There are so many meetings with this Scrum! When to work then ?! ”;
"Well, let it be at least Scrum, even Sram, just roll off and let me write the code!";
“We also imposed this Scrum, it is generally not clear why”;
“Every day stand-ups are forty minutes long, why should I attend them? Want to know what I have done and what I’m working on now - see Jira, Confluence, Git, etc. ”
“ A scrum master is a clown at all, he should have all the dances, instead of managing the project! ”;
“Yes, we used Scrum: the main thing is that the retrospectives were conducted.”
The purpose of this article is to show that the negative, which is still flowing in a big stream towards Scrum, in fact does not apply to it, and the problem should be looked for elsewhere.

Next, I would like to talk about typical cases where these problems originate.

I myself am a certified (scrum.org) in the Scrum area, an employee of one large organization from the financial sector (not “green”, if that). Currently, we do not have Scrum, but we are moving in this direction, and I personally have a vision of why and how we will continue to do this.

In fact, the fascination with flexible methodologies and Skram in particular came to me not so long ago, but in my opinion, what matters is not “how long”, but “how qualitatively and consciously”.

And the more you immerse yourself in this topic, the more you understand that this framework is a powerful “tool”, and the sadder every time is to meet the phrases and reviews given at the beginning of the article, which, as a rule, are evidence of clumsy attempts to move to Scrum.

Why the attempts, and even clumsy ones: because they did not realize why this whole Scrum, and Agile in general, stopped a little earlier than at the very beginning of the transition.

Companies that understand why Scrum is needed and how to use it, in my opinion, is not such a frequent phenomenon in our country.

The power of Scrum, invisible to many, can to some extent be compared with that of Excel: it looks quite simple, but if you dig ...

However, I do not consider Scrum to be a silver bullet, exactly like its creators (link to an article that appeared recently I will not give here in one authoritative edition), and this is already a topic for a separate article.

1. “Imposed”

In my opinion, one of the main reasons why Skram causes such aversion is when he was simply “lowered from above” during the transformation of the organization. And the problem here is exactly how the transformation took place:

  • Did the management realize what it was going to do for flexible methodologies and Scrum in particular?
  • How did the employees get information about the need for transformation, and why will flexible methodologies and Scrum in particular help with this?
  • How did you support the staff in the conditions of transformation, did you conduct high-quality training, certification and help in launching teams?

It is a very common story when companies are transforming, simply because it is “fashionable”.
As a result, something good is hardly obtained, and the emerging grumble, subsequently flows into a wave of negative.

In this regard, I liked one phrase in the subject: “In traditional companies, traditional managers organize the traditional transformations.”

However, I will be honest with you: when we were first “brought in” Agile / Scrum / Kanban, I thought about Scrum exactly , how about some garbage with endless meetings. Changes in my attitude towards him came after in one very cool project I asked myself the question: “What if ...?”.

2. Guessing on Scrum by photo

Another reason for indignation, and even some kind of bitterness on Scrum, is his misinterpretation, primarily related to where we derive knowledge from it. As a result, for example, we have “tea ceremonies”, or “rituals of sacrifice” instead of “events”.

I do not exclude the presence of dissenters who argue about standing on the Daily Scrum in a circle, square, or some other figure. If around, then transmit the word clockwise, against, or something else.

At the same time, there is absolutely no understanding of why these notorious obligatory meetings (events) exist in Skram, which, by the way, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Looking at the huge flow of information in the network, it seems that many simply do not know what is the original source and where to get the basic knowledge of the framework.

So, the main document on Scrum is "The Scrum Guide", written in collaboration with Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, available in many languages, including Russian.
In my opinion, in order to get a basic knowledge of Scrum and, subsequently, not to clutter up your mind with all sorts of misinterpreted additions to Scrum, you need only two main components: desire and thoughtful reading of The Scrum Guide, more than once. This document is quite compact - less than twenty pages, you can master.

As for the trainings, I will say briefly: be careful! Within the framework of this article I will not advertise anyone, but I think that only one or two companies can be trusted with the “right trainings” on this topic in our country.

3. “Interpretation” of certain sections of Scrum Guide and not only

In the context of how many of the same type of discussion in the network goes about Scrum, I will try to draw attention to them and present my understanding in accordance with Scrum Guide and experience.

Scrum is ...

I will highlight two of the three characteristics: easy to understand and difficult to master .

Some people think that there is a contradiction.


In this subsection, I deliberately put a few questions that may make you think and rethink your approach to the framework.

  1. What do you think is the point to call time-fixed work intervals Sprints? For example, can it be easier every two weeks to just send a report on the work done?
  2. If you are in the process of moving to Scrum, how long did you choose the Sprint? When I asked this question, I most often met a surprised look and then the answer: “Standard - 2 weeks”.
  3. Why did you choose a sprint of this length?
  4. Why it is not recommended to set the length of the Sprint more than a month?

Some may not believe it, but the answers to these questions are in Scrum Guide.

4. Daily Scrum (Daily Scrum)

One of the most controversial topics is the Daily Scrum, aka The Daily Standup Meeting, aka The Daily Scrum, or simply “Postozhka”.

You may not believe me, but this event has a fixed time (time-box) - no more than 15 minutes, regardless of the length of the Sprint.

The team itself determines the format of the meeting. And the most important thing in this fifteen minutes is to understand the status of progress towards the Sprint Goal.

Now questions on the backfill: how many of you know what is the purpose of the Sprint? How many of you can articulate it? And who generally formulates them?

In the overwhelming majority of cases, they are indignant from Scrum precisely because of their ignorance and misunderstanding, for this event called Daily Scrum is necessary.

This is not a reporting meeting! In those meetings that I often observe, there are not enough messages about how many times a person drank coffee, tea, water, and also went to the toilet. And "no more than 15 minutes" can stretch for an hour and a half.

Once again: Daily Scrum is about going to the Sprint's Goal!

Realizing only this part of Skram, you, in my opinion, can make a significant breakthrough.
And another remark, which becomes a discovery for many, Daily Scrum is an event in which only the Development Team can take part (note, “take part” and “stand side by side, listen”)! Even the Scrum Master and Product Owner, if they are not part-time members of the Development Team, are not directly involved in this meeting!

5. Master Scrum is not a Project Manager or a servant.

Another very common topic: Scrum Master (SM) = Project Manager (Project Manager, PM).

You can find a bunch of articles on SM vs. PM

I will highlight the main:
  • The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum according to Scrum Guide.
  • The main misconceptions about Scrum Master:
  • The Scrum Master does NOT manage the project;
  • Scrum master does not manage the team (whom to take, whom to remove);
  • Scrum masters are not chosen on the basis of the most experienced or long-working employee of the company;
  • Scrum master is NOT the secretary of the team, “scoring oncoming”.
  • The duties of the Scrum Master do NOT include pizza delivery on Fridays (a favorite topic at the trainings), washing socks and pressing the shoelaces to the Product Owner, or members of the Development Team.

The areas of responsibility of the Scrum Master are also set out in Scrum Guide.
At the end of this section I can throw in a few more topics for self-study, if anyone is interested:

  • Scrum, as a cargo cult vs. Scrum and shuhari.
  • A product owner is a product manager, not a project or team. Here PO vs. PM
  • Product Owner and Scrum Master in one bottle.
  • The main thing in Scrum is the Retrospective, or almost met it like this: Scrum = Retrospective (but retrospective of what is another question)!
  • ...

It is ripe in the light of the fact that the work is found in the comments, including on Habré.
Scrum is Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland and their Scrum Guide. See End Note.
Scrum is what is in Scrum Guide, and not what you used to call in your company.
We, too, have not yet been Scrum, but we understand this, recognize and know how to move towards it. Moreover, we also understand that it is definitely necessary to move there, since this can really bring great benefit to the organization.

Summing up

If the above notes, I even inspired someone to think and rethink what is this Scrum, and flexible methodologies as a whole, then I will assume that I achieved the goal!
Water sharpens a stone and, perhaps, in the near future, we will not hear as often as we’ll hear now: “You are very enthusiastic about this Scrum, and based on the results of such and such a team (using ScrumNO in fact), you shouldn’t do that.”

Thank you all for your attention and I will be glad to your comments and comments!



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