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How do you determine whether a team is just treating Scrum as a buzzword ?

In the previous post (Scrum as a buzzword), I had talked about how Scrum gets treated as a buzzword for many current organizations and groups. For many of these groups, somebody (some decision maker) has heard of Scrum as something that promises an increase in productivity and makes the team more reactive, and is something to be sought after, and so the decision is taken to implement Scrum in the team.
I have spoken to many teams that have implemented Scrum. It is only in some of the cases do we find that the team is implementing Scrum; in many other cases, the team ScrumMaster is honest enough to admit that the team has decided to implement Scrum but many of the required processes are not actually implemented. Instead, the team continues with their current implementation to a large degree, modify some of the processes, and claim that Scrum is being used. In other cases, the team is not implementing Scrum, but is pretty confident that they are implementing Scrum.
How do you determine whether the team has indeed understood the implementation of Scrum and is doing an honest job about it ? There are many things that you can do:
– Ask how the team takes User Stories, breaks them into tasks, and then estimates the tasks accordingly ? If team members are not able to define this process, and indeed, talk about stuff such as Planning Poker, then you know that the team managers are still driving the task estimation and not going through the actual process of breaking down into tasks.
– Ask about the Daily Scrum, and what the team members feel about the Daily Scrum. For team members that have not understood the process of Scrum and the importance of the Daily Scrum, there is a lot of resistance regarding the Daily Scrum, and hence team members resist the daily Scrum. Further, if the team managers have not been able to convey the importance of Daily Scrum, then that is another problem in the implementation of Scrum. Such a team is not likely to really get the benefits that the increased communication through the Daily Scrum process.
– Ask how the team is able to convey the importance of processes such as reviews, etc ? For a Scrum team where the team members really feel empowered, they are able to run a process of monthly reviews and provide feedback about the changes that they are proposing. In teams where there is not a good process of retrospective, you don’t gain some of the benefits that you gain through increased empowerment of the team.

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