Agile Scrum: How Agile is Scrum Methodology?

December 11, 2015
Enterprise-Scrum-Adoption-Intland-Software-336x336 Agile Scrum: How Agile is Scrum Methodology? Scrum

Read before Scaling Scrum

Agile Scrum is the most popular Agile Development methodology, as much as 70% of all development teams are now using Agile are using Scrum, or some home brewed hybrid version of Scrum (that should not be called Scrum at all).  Does it follow that just because Scrum is the most popular that it makes it the most Agile?

The jury is out and Scrum has won the day, this article is not about questioning Scrums success, – there is now no question as to whether Scrum is effective at increasing productivity (see why its so successful). It has been proven, time and time again for small teams, consequently it has withstood  the test of time.  However Agile is not just about speed and increasing productivity, it is also about making improvements and providing innovative quality, it is here that perhaps Agile Scrum is found wanting.

With Agile Scrum It is a question of Development Quality at Scale.

Scaling up any Agile Methodology adds complexity, along with complexity comes a necessary, extra layer of administration the burden of which makes it less Agile. Consequently Scaled Agile, – no matter the methodology, requires tools for management of Scaled Agile and the increased complexity it brings, such as potentially millions of project artifacts.  Tool features that help to manage complexity, include features that enable remote large scale collaborative working, such as digital documents management, esignatures with change and configuration management including vital access controls, and not last and not least requirements management.  There are many other features too, business integration tools such as Business Process Management (BPM) as found in codeBeamer ALM, but there are too many to features list them all here but feel free to check out the features list via the links above.

There are some valid concerns about Scaling Scrum, by its very nature it is designed to be simple, with no technical practices to follow, nothing about Test Driven Development (TDD), Continuous integration (CD) or any other commonly borrowed practices.  Simple is often good, smart even but there has to be a point where simple becomes too simple, a point where it becomes difficult, awkward to work with and instead of simple it is referred  as simplistic.  Commonly associated critisms of Scrum include the following:-

  • User stories are too simple, – simplistic and don’t meet the needs of most users working at large scale with multiple interdependent systems and teams.
  • Scrum is too rigid, fixed – not flexible enough and therefore difficult and time consuming to customize.
  • The very idea of empowering the team members to make project management decisions is not viable at Scale, a structural framework is necessary to which to work by, which developers empowered by Scrum tend to reject.
  • One common complaint for Scrum projects is that the Product owner tends to be less involved than with other Agile methods.
  • With Scrum creativity is lost or at least is less as developers toil to meet deadlines and tick the feature done boxes rather than just writing a fine piece of code with innovative features that WOW.

For enterprise software development, Scrum just can’t be used by itself, and therefore the normal implementation model is Hybrid Scrum models (Scrum Hybrid, Scrum Hybridization) such as Scrumban.  In many cases the intent maybe to implement Scrum at scale but more frequently than not this is scaling a flawed implementation of Scrum due to poor training or perhaps the Scaling plan is not carried out to completion leaving the enterprise in question with Scrumbut. So the true picture of Scrum use at Enterprise level is not of Scrum at all but one of Hybrid models of development. The common complaints above are perhaps why the use of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is the leading model of adoption, providing the guidance that developers and framework that both industry standards and PO’s demand.  With the assistance ALM Software designed for use with SAFe (codeBeamer ALM), it is now the perferred option for adopting Agile at Scale.

There is hope for Scrum however, recently our team met with Jeff Sutherland, the founder of Scrum at UPscALE at our head office building in Stuttgart, Germany where he went into some detail about Scaling Scrum in the Enterprise and about LeSS as an alternative to SAFe.  If you use Scrum or want to Scale UP Scrum then this article is for you (Jeff Sutherland link above).

Intland Software’s codeBeamer ALM Software is the complete solution for Scaling Agile whether it be for DevOps or otherwise, using SAFe, DAD, LeSS Agile Scrum, or Hybid Scrum models such as Scrumban or unique build your own business dependent models with business dependent processes.

codeBeamer ALM can handle your project requirements.

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Eva Johnson

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Eva is an Economist (MSc) and also holds an MBA in Marketing Communications. She has over 10 years of experience in journalism, digital media communication and project management working with several multinational companies and governmental institutions. You will find her blogs posts on a variety of subjects from Agile-Waterfall Hybrid, Scrum to DevOps.

Eva Johnson has written 131 posts for Intland Software.

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