Friday, 20 June 2008

Scrum is not Enough

A post by Ken Schwaber on the scrumdevelopment Yahoo group a little while back caught my eye. It was a response in a thread entitled "Scrum and Architecture", and Ken's response ended with,
In order to employ emergent architecture, every Sprint must leave behind clean, commented, refactored work. Otherwise emergence hits the wall within six Sprints (or sooner, depending on how bad the morass is).
I was rather surprised by this, since it's tantamount to an admission that the Scrum practices alone are not enough to provide a team with a process that's sustainable for anything other than the short term. It's not the content of the comment that's surprising - many people have said the same thing, myself included - it's the person making the comment!

Ken has been vocal in the past about the fact that Scrum deliberately avoids prescribing any technical practices. However this comment belies the fact that he already knows that without solid technical practices Scrum is simply not enough.

Is that the message being conveyed to groups new to any Agile development? I don't believe so. How may teams have adopted Scrum because it's the lowest agile common denominator, only to find out within a few months that "this agile stuff doesn't work"?

So, for the sake of anyone considering a move to an Agile process, let's make this perfectly clear:

Scrum is not enough!



You have nailed it. I wrote a blog entry that tries to make some sense of the debate. I believe this is a prescription for an engineering practice - I may or may not agree with the practice - but it is not 'SCRUM'


I agree with your surprise. I spotted it some time back - and it has been 'troubling me' for a while. I tried to cover it off in this blog. I think the debate will roll. But it smells like an engineering practice rather than a management practice. I think the spirit of the intention is ok though.