Nov 12

Bite the bullet

Bite the Bullet by Della Stock

Let’s face it. There are no guarantees in life and even less in business. Often companies implement ways of working that they hope will bring some sort of guarantee that every problem will be solved. In the case of scrum it is sometime sold as the of silver bullet. Sold as the means to end al problems. And even though people like myself keep reminding that it does not, the general mindset is that it will, stays on top of minds. So it is no surprise that after a period of hard work, trial and error and setbacks management wants results to come out of the process, and when it does and they don’t like what they see, the blame the system. Or in this case Scrum.

It is very strange that this behavior starts when companies adopt new ways like Scrum. Strange because before they did it wasn’t a big issue. Software was never on time. Projects went over budget and products where of low quality. The way of working was flawed and blamed but not dealt with. Although it demanded hard work to stay on top of things. And then, all of a sudden, everything has to change. Everybody needs to work agile. Scrum is introduced and all seems to go well. But one thing is forgotten in this and that is people. Not only the processes within the company are changing, people have to change to. It’s even more important than putting stickies on the wall en sit around in teams and poker. When people don’t change, no matter what model you are going to apply, things will not change. The good thing, or when you are on the wrong side of the barrel, the bad thing is that agile processes have the tendency to stir everything up. Deadwood starts floating on top of everything. But if, as a company, you don’t deal with this, then nothing is going to turn around or have effect. Sure, stickies will move and some visual differences will occur but if you don’t address the bigger issues you are likely on an agile death march (to use that phrase differently). You can count on the fact that the implementation will fail.

In most cases when this happens scrum goes out of the window, although some handy parts will be kept, and everything rapidly drifts back to the old ways because everything was better before scrum, right?. Huh! Then wy did you change it? Scrum is not something you just apply. It is not a miracle out of the box that makes everything beautiful. Scrum is very hard work, I just keep saying that, and it takes every able body within the company to get it to work. If it doesn’t work, don’t blame the solution but blame the problem, namely the people who are working with it. If there is no commitment to change, then nothing will. The name will be different and the approach seems new. But underneath the surface, the deadwood is ready to surface and again takes root if you don’t deal with it first. Everyone needs to be devoted to make it works and see to it that it keeps working. Before it becomes the silver bullet that people so anxiously seem to want to fire, you will have to bite it first.

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