08 December 2008

Scrum: Keeping Kosher doesn't make you Jewish

Our development team has started using Scrum.  We’re only 4 weeks in, so it would be premature to make a judgement on whether it’s working for us.  I’ve investigated how it’s practised elsewhere, and there seems to be a worrying trend…

 

Let’s say I want to become a Christian.  I could go to church on Sundays; receive communion; marry in a Church; sing hymns; celebrate Christmas.  But none of these would make me a Christian.  These are just extrinsic procedures – not core beliefs.  To really be a Christian, you have to ‘live-for-God’; believe in the divinity of Christ; and so on.  The point of Christianity is these core beliefs, not the extraneous rituals.

 

When it comes to Scrum, I always see teams faithfully having daily stand-up meetings, having retrospective meetings, calling someone a Scrummaster, etc.  But they fail to implement the core principles of Scrum: ‘Done-is-done’, etc.  It’s easy to practise the irrelevant rituals, yet these should not be confused with what Scrum is really about.

 

Many people tell me that no one implements Scrum properly – it’s a matter of compromise and seeing what works.  I don’t accept this.  It’s remarkable how readily people compromise on the core-beliefs, yet retain all the extraneous procedures.  They give up believing Jesus is the son of God, but keep Easter.

 

This is not to say there isn’t value in some of Scrum.  Daily stand-up meetings are useful; but this hardly amounts to a vindication of Scrum.  In the same way, some hymns are great (‘Autumn Days’ and ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ are two of my favourites) but this is not sufficient to justify becoming a Christian.   If you like hymns but don’t believe in the divinity of Christ, then don’t become a Christian.   Start a choir instead.

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Jason Crease studied maths and computer Science at Cambridge University and joined Redgate several years ago as a Test Engineer. He specialised for some time in Testing .NET applications and was part of the team responsible for the development of ANTS Profiler and .NET Reflector. After working as a DevOps engineer supervising Redgate's own IT systems, he joined the DLM team, working on the practicalities of the management and automation of the application lifecycle.

View all articles by Jason Crease