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A contrarian approach, some problems with Scrum as seen by my experience

Scrum somewhat problematic for us

This post can be a bit challenging; it was most challenging to me when I started writing it, since Scrum has been sold as a solution for most software development projects. Along with this, previous software development methodologies such as Waterfall, Spiral, etc are slowly getting marked as methodologies that are out-dated, do not match well with expectations of changing requirements, and treat human beings as cold resources. Together, both of these movements start to move more and more software development projects towards Scrum and Agile concepts. I have seen many projects in my own company start to move towards using Scrum, pushed by the fact that other groups are starting to move towards Scrum, and there is a lot of pressure. Some queries that I have had about the success of Scrum have been pushed down with the push that these are imperfect implementations of Scrum, and that one should follow the tenets of Scrum more closely. However, here are some of the observations that I have made, and wanted to publish them to wonder about whether things are going fine, or are there some problems in the way Scrum is working for us ?

Specific examples of where Scrum is causing problems

– Team not comfortable: We have a concept whereby people sometimes move between teams depending on the need, and if a team is in a crunch situation. What I have typically seen is that team members who moved into a project using Scrum and then moved out where not truly comfortable with using Scrum. They felt that Scrum somewhat compromises their independence, and does not take into account their fluctuations in terms of daily delivery. When told that Scrum does not enforce a daily delivery of features or expect them to have to justify their daily work, they still seemed uncomfortable about being put in front of the entire team.
– Moving away from daily Scrum: There was strong resistance to using Daily Scrum. We put the teams through training, showed them success stories, but the comfort level with getting them to attend a Daily meeting was just not there. They would sometimes not show up citing some excuses, sometimes would be outright defiant, and would certainly mention this in the retrospectives.
– Senior team members somewhat uncomfortable with flatness: Senior team members were used to the idea that they had a certain amount of experience that caused their word to be taken easily and over their less experienced team members. Ideas such as everybody being able to estimate any features, and people asked to explain their estimates when these estimates were different from others was something that made people uncomfortable.
– Inexperience not fully exposed: When it came to tasks such as estimation, and including the Daily Scrum where people were trying to define the time remaining for their tasks, it would become clear that people who were not experienced caused tasks to be estimated inaccurately. This in turn threw off the velocity, caused more slip on burndown charts, and yet was not so easy to handle in terms of being able to mentor these people. Feedback from all other sources was geared towards disregarding their estimates, but this went against all our Scrum training.
– ScrumMaster works more like a project manager: The ScrumMaster in most projects that I have seen worked more like a project manager rather than a person who got the team to work like an empowered team. There was absolutely nothing like an empowered team discussing within each other, instead we got the SrumMaster who tried to use the Daily ScrumMaster as a way of generating the daily status (and in some cases, when senior management was present, to show that the ScrumMaster was fully aware of the current situation).

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