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Making Scrum implementation work

Matthew Heusser's new book, 'Save Our Scrum,' explains the risk behind diluted Scrum and how to make Scrum implementations work for your enterprise.

Scrum is everyone's favorite step in the Agile development process, but is it in danger? Matthew Heusser, regular TechTarget contributor and managing consultant of Excelon Development in Allegan, Mich., thinks it is and that we all need to do something to get it back on track. In this podcast, SearchSoftwareQuality talks to Heusser, who is co-author of a new book, Save Our Scrum.

And yes, Scrum is really in need of saving -- so much so that Heusser points out that Save Our Scrum has the handy acronym of SOS. Today, organizations are doing Scrum, but it's "Scrum-ish" or "Scrum-light," or his favorite, "We're doing Scrum, but …" -- in other words, every group has its own flavor of Scrum and that dilutes its worth.

Not only is Scrum at the heart of the Agile development methodology, it's also the best way for companies to see themselves in a mirror. "If you have a good Scrum implementation, it will show all of your problems," he said.

'Save Our Scrum' by Matthew Heusser explains how to make Scrum implementations work

Instead, Scrum almost seems to be the place where everyone just throws up his or her hands and gives up. "'We tried Scrum, but it didn't work,' is what I hear a lot of people say. But it didn't work because they changed everything," he said. "You have to understand the why of the framework. Really get into it. Don't just have a superficial understanding of what Scrum is."

Heusser's book focuses on four major problems that can happen to Scrum implementations and gives advice on how to avoid them. One of the most common problems is a situation anyone who has worked in a corporate environment can relate to -- the whirlwind, in which workers are so focused on completing daily duties to keep their bosses happy that Scrum projects end up abandoned.

"You get sucked in and only get your day-to-day work done, thanks to the whirlwind," Heusser explained. It's the No. 1 problem with Scrum adoptions. The solution is to step back and understand how to set goals for special projects that are "whirlwind proof."

Heusser's book, Save our Scrum, is available for $10. SearchSoftwareQuality readers can get a 15% discount.

Next Steps

Learn more about the foundations of Agile

Sometimes you have to modify Agile to make it work

Find out how to make distributed Agile standups work

This was last published in October 2015

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Has a lack of Scrum hurt your company’s Agile app development?
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I often wonder if the issue is, the team may be doing SCRUM, but the higher ups aren't, and they misunderstand that their urgent interruption impacts the bottom line of delivery.
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Matt's right about the whirlwind.  Not sure its exactly he same thing, but I've found its really easy to get accustomed to rhythm of SCRUM and get used to doing the same things, and not always being mindful of what is  going  on and how things work.  That is fine some times, but it can make teams complacent.
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I’ve seen too many stand-ups devolve into “yesterday I worked on this, today I’m working on that, no obstacles,” that give no real communication. I do think it is that people get comfortable and complacent in their implementation, and don’t realize the true lack of agility.
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