Is Scrum Really So Perfect?

  • I have found it very difficult to find serious criticism of Scrum on the web. Whenever anyone criticizes scrum, they are met with "You're just doing it wrong". Is scrum really so perfect? Are there any drawbacks to the heavy management approach that scrum represents?

    Scrum seems very much like a religion to me.

  • @tharpa said:

    they are met with "You're just doing it wrong"

    @tharpa said:

    Scrum seems very much like a religion to me.

    If the second, then the first.

    It's good because it's malleable. That's the whole point of agile in general.

  • SockDev

    -shrug- it's got advantages over the other systems and disadvantages.

    it's about how you use it i guess and what you're using it for. some projects and teams will work better with something like kanban than scrum, but others will work better with scrum than kanban.

    then there's the matter of the PMs. are they running proper scrum or are they doing "scrumfall" where they use all their old waterfall tools but callit scrum because that's hip and cool?

  • @accalia said:

    then there's the matter of the PMs. are they running proper scrum or are they doing "scrumfall" where they use all their old waterfall tools but callit scrum because that's hip and cool?

    No. I am assuming the case where it is more or less authentic scrum, not just a false advertisement.

  • SockDev

    oh. in that case it's really a matter of making the work methedology match the team as best as possible while keeping things open, transparent, and accountable.

    Scrum works well for that in a lot of circumstances, particularly because it's so flexable, but tends to break down a bit in larger teams. With a team larger than ~15 members i'd avoid using straight scrum and do "meta scrum" (smaller scrum teams that send representiatives to an overall scrum team) or use a different system like kanban.

  • @tharpa said:

    "You're just doing it wrong"

    Staying on theme!

    @tharpa said:

    Are there any drawbacks to the heavy management approach that scrum represents?

    Heavy management is a drawback. Others:

    • Constant interruptions impact productivity.

    • The product you're making doesn't suit a "slap shit on piecemeal" approach. You have long development phases, or it's a single massive project that requires very careful planning and serialized implementation (read: waterfall approach).

    • You'll have meetings too often, and not get any useful progress reports. OR you'll have meetings not often enough, and miss out on "catch shit as it happens" opportunities.

    • Your programmers are working on a number of overlapping projects. They'll either be in scrums so often that everything will slip, or will be too busy on a different project that they won't attend scrumms.

    • Someone has to call themselves The Scrumm Master. The only people who will voluntarily do that are insufferable douche-tits, and you don't want those people anywhere near your team.

  • @accalia said:

    or use a different system like kanban.

    Is that like fail2ban, except it's where after an buzz-fucker manager tries (and fails) to implement some number of methodologies he half-heard about while drunk at a conference, he gets fired?

  • My experience with scrum so far:

    Boss: "Hey Cartman, I need this feature yesterday, clients are complaining. Scrum!"
    Me: "Yes sir mr. bossman, right away sir!"

  • My experience with scrum so far is that those guys working next to me always get up at 11 am and keep blabbing about nothing for 15 minutes, blocking my route to the coffee machine right when I need it the most.

    Apparently there's some discussion about the "gender" field on some form. It's been going on for two months now.

  • area_deu

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    "gender" field

    Just make it free-form input and unrequired?

    The zero-effort-way can sometimes be the best!

  • Just make it take as input the output of an MRI.

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @accalia said:

    use a different system like kanban.

    O_o "How do you do software development with kanban?" asks the guy who's most familiar with it in terms of actual factory-style production lines.

  • SockDev

    basically s/car door/task

    it's odd to explain but it does work.

  • I like Agile in general, but what bothers me is this whole business charade around. If you don't understand what I'm saying, just go to some conference full of Scrum masters. It's like every moron who couldn't code FizzBuzz got into it and would use the lowest and stupidest reasons to sell you their shit, their books and their services. It all feels like those "conferences" for Ponzi schemes: look! It's Bryan, and after implementing Scrum his teams has a velocity of 10!

    Also, now you need a Scrum master, and the games. Yes, software is like Lego and all that bullshit is just a waste of time.

    I've seen a few teams work in strict Scrum fashion and god damn if they coded was because they had to do something between stand ups, retrospectives and sprint plannings.

  • At my work, I think we implement scrum quite successfully, all things considered. We have weekly sprint plannings where we review last sprints and negotiate with PM what will be done in the next one. During the week, programmers freely choose what they do now; stand-up meetings take five to ten minutes every day (team of 7), so they aren't much burden and sometimes they help to spot some obstacles on the way. When some feature is non-trivial to implement, we make spontaneous meetings as to decide how to approach the problem at hand. All in all, the project goes fairly well, we get almost all features on time, and everyone is happy.

    Now, it all works well until half of team's capacity is spent on maintenance (which consists mostly of replying to bug reports that the problem lies on the other side of interface).

  • The best book on scrum/agile I've read so far is Che Guevara's Guerilla Warfare. And therein lies the downfall of most agile methods. Many big products succeed because of the innovations that happen as skunkworks. Skunkworks are typically run as - you guessed it - guerilla campaigns. But what happens when you elevate the guerilla philosophy to be the corporate development standard? The leeway required and the room for skunkworks disappears. Suddenly management have a much more detailed effort tracking tool, and hence the developers need to be seen making headway on officially approved features.

    Not really scrum's fault in and by itself, though.

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