Scrum is like an onion…

Posted By on Août 8, 2009

Scrum stinks? I don’t think so.
Scrum makes you cry? I’ve seen it happen.
You leave Scrum out in the sun, it gets all brown, start sprouting’ little white hairs?
No! Layers! Scrum has layers!

The outer layer of Scrum is the high level process.  This includes the ceremonies of Scrum such as the daily scrum, the sprint review and retrospective. We can also include the product and sprint backlogs,   and burndown charts.  These things can be explained in a few minutes to a bunch of drunken friends at a party and they’d still remember it in the morning.

Going deeper into the next layer involves something that comes before the actual Scrum framework. Before diving into a Scrum project, we need to assemble a cross-functional team and create a common vision with the help of a competent Product Owner  and ScrumMaster.  A project launch, Sprint 0, or whatever you want to call it is needed to deliver the oh so important Project Charter.  Only then can a team slowly move from being a group of individuals working for the same manager to a group of professionals collaborating towards the same goals.

Our onion also has a technical layer to it.  The incremental and iterative development layer required in Scrum implies sound engineering practices.  At the top of this list of practices is testing.  If the product is not thoroughly tested, disaster will soon ensue.  If non-tested code is prevalent in the application, courage to refactor will be low and the end result will be a design dead code base.  The team must, at a minimum, be exposed to various practices such as Test-Driven-Development, Domain-Driven-Design and Agile Modeling.  The scrum team must deliver a high quality product every 4 weeks that responds to the client’s needs, and Agile engineering practices can help the team achieve just that.

Moving inwards gets a bit more stinky.  It always amazes me how such a simple framework can provoke so much change.  Changes are required not only within the the Scrum team but at all levels of the organization and resistance to change is often more prevalent with  upper management than any other sector. This is actually quite funny because upper management is the one calling us to “deliver” Scrum in the organization.

Scrum has a whole bunch of other layers but those are the first ones that came to mind. Not to mention that my eyes are quickly turning red!

Submit a Comment