Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Questioning SCRUM

I came across my notes from the SCRUM Training I took last year. Here is one, as it came along ten months ago, as I challenged SCRUM concept of self-managing teams:

Self Managing Teams is a key SCRUM concept, but just mention it to your customer, and she'll shit her pants scared. Or mention it to your old-school hard-nose CEO, and the scared pants will be yours. He says "Go play democracy if you think it's good for team moral. But at the end of the day I want to see a name written down against a task. Who is the individual I hold responsible for its success, or it's failure? Whom do I go and shake the hand? Or whom do I go and kick the ass?"

Can a Self Managing Team manage their own compensation? Throw you annual budget, one million dollars in cache, on the table and watch them self-organizing as they are grabbing their shares. Is your team ready for this self-managing exercise?

How about another management responsibility, the authority to fire someone who does not perform well? This is a shitty part, but sometimes it has to be done. Does your team get guts to execute on this?

I am autocratic. I believe in the self-managing team. However I realize its limits, and see the need for one single place where the buck stops.

I like geese analogy. Geese formed a team, bought into a shared goal, they are proactivly working on it, going south. Look at the picture, they naturally emerged a leader! They're a great self managing team. To complete the image, see a man with a rifle on the top of a hill.

As I am reviewing my notes, I see more minor disagreements, more things I don't totally buy, more questions and more food for thought. This is a sign of a good training, and indeed I liked it! I credit it's success to Mishkin Bertraig, our SCRUM Instructor, and to a great audience of skillful and experienced professionals. We had diverse backgrounds, but we shared same challenges. We did a great team work together. Heck, we were the bunch of real geeks out there: who else spends 2 days between Christmas and the New Year questioning SCRUM?

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