Beware of Scrum

One of the most common causes I’ve observed in failed Scrum implementations is: Scrum team does not have conscious top management buy-in.

I have seen department heads attending courses of Scrum and opting to implement Scrum in their projects without ensuring top management’s conscious buy-in.

They sometimes do it because they feel Scrum is a smart way to ensure project delivery and probably the silver bullet.

It is not.

It may sound easy though. Power of Scrum rests in its simplicity. But in order for that simplicity to work as a tool to get things done, the top management…key decision makers… have to buy into Scrum.

Scrum requires a  paradigm shift about  how things get done.  Not by push but by pull.  Now, that’s simple  but certainly not easy.

Conventional management is primarily about command and control or carrot and stick as we call it whereas Scrum is about giving away the command and control in the individuals’ hands who will act as a self-organizing team to achieve a common goal .

Top management has to make a conscious choice if they want to apply Scrum framework to execute their projects. They need to look at it from multiple perspectives including the nature of projects the organization will be undertaking.

If the nature of project is predictable and not uncertain, Scrum may not be a good choice. However, if the opposite is true, Scrum can be the most powerful tool a project can ever have given the right team.

As a Scrum team, you need to figure out whether your project has got top management buy-in or not. If not then first thing you can do is to bring that up in your daily stand-up meeting as most crucial impediment to be resolved.

Such impediment removal might result into a project which doesn’t use Scrum but that is the right thing to do.

Extreme Scrum-thinking: Don’t use Scrum if that’s the solution to removing the main impediment.


Is Daily Scrum Overrated?

I’ve observed many new scrum teams claiming that they are doing Scrum very well because they are religiously attending Daily Scrum meeting.

They believe that attending this ritual is the silver bullet. It will solve all the problems they’re having. Not matter what the problems are…unclear requirements, unclean code or inadequate skills of the team members…whatever.

All they know that they need to answer three magic questions and they’ll be able to solve all the problems:

  1. What did I do yesterday?
  2. What I’ll do today?
  3. What are the blockers?

But, does it happen that way? Ever?

I doubt.

Haven’t you ever observed your team saying that there aren’t any blocker issues but fail to deliver as committed? I have.

So, where is the problem, Is Daily Scrum Overrated?

As I see it, Daily Scrum isn’t overrated but the teams following it sometimes believe that just attending Daily Scrum they will succeed. That never happens that way and they think if Daily Scrum is overrated.

A Scrum team has to understand that there are no silver bullets. In fact, three magic questions provide the team a framework to exhibit the team-commitment and bring the nastiest impediment out such that it can be eliminated sooner than later.



To really get benefits from the Daily Scrum, the team has to have the right mindset.

The mindset that makes the Scrum team effective is:

They are the ONE team, not individual piece of excellence.

If Engineer X is having an impediment in coding part, Engineer Y who works on quality assurance part is equally concerned and vice versa.

There are no silos. No team member is successful till every team member is successful.

Each team member is committed for ensuring that every other team member wins. Chief goal is to deliver to sprint commitment, not to the individual commitment.

There is shared ownership and shared celebrations.

Daily Scrum is less about doing “Daily Scrum” ritual and more about ensuring that team delivers as per the commitment. [Tweet this]

When team gets it right, Daily Scrum starts generating immense value.