Sunday, January 6, 2008

I'm no Scrum Purist

The other day I was asked if our team was practicing Scrum in the purest form or a hybrid of Scrum which blended our prior processes with Scrum practices.

This got me thinking "Is Scrum a methodology or a framework". Without getting into the academic definitions of methodology and framework, a methodology to me describes a set of steps that must be followed as specified by the creator(s) of the methodology while a framework is a prescriptive guidance. With a framework you are welcome to use all or part of it depending on what works best for your environment/culture. I think of Scrum as a framework, it provides guidance on software project management, and best practices for project planning, communication, reporting, time management and team composition. You can certainly adopt portions of Scrum to enhance the productivity of your team and improve your project results, which is what we have done with our adoption of Scrum.

For example, the Microsoft Solutions Framework(MSF) Team model prescribes a team of peers with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This in my opinion allows for individual accountability as well as team accountability. In addition, it incorporated the Scrum philosophy of self-managed team. This model worked well for us and there was no reason to change it, especially since it wasn’t anti-Scrum.

We however adopted Scrum planning, time management and reporting practices because we needed to improve visibility into our progress. Now progress is measurable at the end of every sprint and we no longer waste our time with status reporting that mean nothing.

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