Scrum Myths

Scrum-But vs Scrum-In-Motion – Part 12 of the Scrum Myth-Buster Series


Posted by Ilan on November 16, 2016
I'm Ilan Goldstein and I'm a director here at AxisAgile. I'm a Certified Scrum Trainer and the author of Scrum Shortcuts Without Cutting Corners. Find out more about me or get in contact with me by using the social buttons. I also respond to comments below.

Welcome back and I know that I’ve kept you in suspense for this final installment but better late than never, right?

Without further ado, let’s debunk the final myth. This one is particularly nasty because it leads to some pretty serious Agile religious wars (and we all know how religious wars end…). This is the myth that unless you are able to leave a training course and immediately work in cross-functional teams that are able to develop nice working increments every Sprint while keeping their products in a constant state of readiness then you can’t do Scrum or you have to practice the much maligned Scrum-But.

For example, I overheard a comment at a recent training course that went something along the lines of, “That XYZ team are doing pretty well BUT they have to conduct a testing Sprint every 3 or 4 Sprints to catch up with their regression tests and as such they’re not doing real Scrum.”

Guess what? When you start using Scrum things are not going to be perfect. Your team is not necessarily going to have the test automation maturity to be able to maintain a product in a continuous state of readiness. That is ok. By my reckoning, there is a big difference between Scrum-But and what I call Scrum-In-Motion.

For example, I reserve Scrum-But for teams that say they’re doing Scrum but don’t bother with retrospectives. Or they say, “Hey we do Scrum but we have closed Reviews just for the team”. In fact labeling those teams as doing even Scrum-But is generous IMHO.

That being said though, Scrum would be pretty hypocritical if it expected every team to be able to get things up and running perfectly at the beginning. Scrum is about incrementally and iteratively improving not just our products but also the process of Scrum. In the earlier example about the team getting up and running with automation tools, I say that so long as the team is doing it’s very best to continuously improve its current test automation processes, while at the same time sticking to the core Scrum rules, roles activities and artifacts as articulated within the Scrum Guide then they are certainly still doing Scrum. They are just finding their feet, but with desire and focus, this team will get better and better and that is what Scrum-In-Motion is really about.

It is important that after 21 years (yep, Scrum just celebrated it’s 21st birthday) we reflect back on the actual intent of Scrum. The desire to close feedback loops and continuously improve at both a product AND process level is what it’s really all about. That is the heart of Scrum.

So thank you for hanging with me on this myth-busting journey and I certainly hope it’s given you some ammunition to use back against those now ubiquitous Agile cowboys and purists that we see out there. Please comment below if you’d like a hand with any other myths you’re struggling with.

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