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Is Your Scrum-But Causing Your Organization to Fail At Scrum?

written by: Misty Faucheux • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 6/13/2013

Are your projects not moving along as fast as you would like? Feel stuck in a rut? Scrumbut can cause your scrum program to derail in your organization. Learn how to recognize the scrumbut symptoms and how to get your scrum train back on track.

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    What's Your "But"?

    The effective implementation of scrum can help your organization be more efficient and effective. Failure to implement scrum effectively, however, prevents you from recognizing and experiencing its finer points. This negative experience is known as scrumbut, or you implemented scrum in your organization, "but" you only picked what you wanted to use in the methodology. This causes scrum to flunk in your organization.

    Scrumbut can be seen in a variety of ways. For example, as opposed to just two- or four-week sprints, your sprints last about two months. Maybe there are no daily scrum meetings, teams are too large, or your organization just hasn't done the research yet. Whatever the excuse, the scrumbut interferes with scrum being properly instituted.

    While scrum should be modified to fit your organization, scrumbut is more than just modification. With scrumbut, only the bare elements of scrum are left. You are more likely doing quasi-scrum rather than having a real scrum methodology.

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    Kicking But!

    So, how do you kick the scrumbut? First of all, you must embrace scrum as a whole and not pick and choose what looks best from the buffet. Take a scrum class or tutorial to assist you. Try implementing the following procedures to keep your organization moving forward and help your teams adapt scrum effectively.

    1. Keep your teams small and workable. Teams with 40 members won't do the trick. Try to evenly divide your employees so that the groups are smaller and more flexible.

    2. ScrumMasters are a must. You need somebody to direct the teams and keep them on track.Source: http://www.methodsandtools.com/archive/scrum1.gif 

    3. Your sprints should be no more than four weeks. Anything longer than this could throw the whole schedule off.

    4. Have a plan, and keep track of progress. You must have a product backlog before you start, and team members must stick to what they've promised to do. Keep track of what's been done in writing. This way the group can see what's finished and what still needs to be done. Your burn-down chart will assist you with this process.

    5. Always keep your product owners, stakeholders, and managers informed. These are the decision-makers. They need to approve of any changes before they are made.

    6. Always have your daily scrum meeting. They seem like a pain, but they are truly necessary. This is where you want to tell the group what has been done, what needs to be done tomorrow, and what wasn't done on time. Scrum meetings are where you can see what progress has been made and what has gotten off schedule. If a group needs help, this is where they need to say it. But, these meetings also shouldn't last for hours on end. Keep them within 15 to 20 minutes.

    7. Finally, make your team accountable. Your team is the one doing the work; they should be invested in the process. Get them involved, and ask them to join in the discussion.

    Scrum can be very advantageous to your organization. You, however, must kick the "but" out. If not, scrum will fail in your organization, and you and your team will firmly believe that it does not work and will not embrace its organization-altering potential.