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Scrum Failure – When teams take Scrum, but only half-heartedly, and then realize that their Scrum does not work

As part of discussions within the organization, and with other Scrum Masters from other organizations where Scrum is implemented, one of the biggest problems that are discussed is why there are ‘Scrum failures’, or cases where the Scrum implementation seems to have failed. In a number of cases, we find that the Scrum implementation had issues, which the teams either ignored, or considered inconsequential, or thought were not really relevant to Scrum; any of these factors led to problems which in turn caused huge issues in the implementation of Scrum. As a result of these issues, the teams start to feel that the Scrum problems overshadow any advantages that they face and they start to roll back their Scrum implementation or give it up altogether.
One of the most important reasons is where the team does not make the full implementation of the Scrum methodology and yet does not see this as a problem. Consider the case where the team is used to a process where the managers or the leads decide on the estimates, based on the complexity, but also based on the time available to get things done. In such a case, the team is under a lot of pressure, and any attempt by team members to raise issues that could cause more time to be spent can lead to a lot of tensions. The team members pick up on that, and start hesitating when such a situation comes into existence.
However, when the team gets Scrum training, and starts the implementation of Scrum, the existence of such tensions and pressures can lead to the team members not really taking on the full mantle of Scrum. So, when the mindset has not changed, and the team members need to make their estimations, they will try and think in terms of what their leads / managers would think about the estimates, and plan their estimates accordingly. Even when one of the team members tries to be more accurate, such concepts are shut down by the others. They have learned in the past that when estimates are not prepared as per the time available, it can mean some uncomfortable time spent with the leads / managers, and eventually they will work with the revised timeframes.
In the case of Scrum, if such an attitude persists, the team members will start doubting the reality of the Scrum implementation, and soon, they start doubting the efficiency of the other elements of the Scrum process, starting with the Daily Scrum meeting. Soon, you start seeing the problems with a Scrum implementation where some items are being done as per Scrum, and others are being done as per whatever process the team feels with work.
In such a case, it typically needs an external coach / expert, or a Scrum Master with real authority to vouch the required changes in processes, sentiment and to get the Scrum implementation back on track.

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