Violating scrum. How far can you go?

Speaker:Jan Jaap Cannegieter

Session: 45 Min. Talk


Scrum doesn’t fit in every situation. But how much practices can you ignore or change to say that you are still agile? Based on a specific, not standard project, I will explain what we have and what we haven’t applied and why we deviated from Scrum. In this interactive talk you will be the jury and decide whether this was acceptable and whether the project was still agile.

Scrum is by now the most used method to develop systems. But the Scrum process should not be carved in stone; depending on the situation you should be able to adjust the method, leave elements out and add other elements. But how far can you go in these adjustments?

In this talk a specific case will be presented in which Scrum didn’t fit. The organization described in the case, a car leasing company active in six European countries, implemented Scrum but the Scrum Team, Product Owner and management agreed that it didn’t work properly for them. We changed some practices and introduced some other practices. The top four changed/additions we made were: working with a ready team with a product owner from every country; elaborate the epics and user stories till almost a detailed design; deploy the software in releases and the introduction of a new management roll to manage the overall program. For all of these four changes/additions I will explain why we choose to work that way and what were the consequences. But made these adjustments the organization more or less agile? And justifies the situation the implementation of all the adjustments? Or did the consultant violate Scrum too much? We will turn the room into a courtroom with a prosecutor, a judge and the audience will be the jury. In case the Scrum Police (Samantha Laing and Karen Greaves from Growing Agile in South Africa) are around they can play a role as well. We will have to decide later who will be prosecutor and who will be judge. Anyway, I will be held accountable for the way we worked in this project, I will have to explain why he choose certain adjustments. The jury (the audience) will decide whether this was justified or not.

As you can see this is a very interactive and fun session. But there is a very important message in it. The Scrum practices shouldn’t be carved in stone but be applied situationally. But the danger here is that by adjusting the practices the power of scrum decreases. A dilemma that is difficult in some practical situations.

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