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While doing some research on reasons Scrum tends to fail, I came across an interesting quote:

Note I’ve met with many such teams who love to throw around the terms Sprint, ScrumMaster, Product Backlog, and so on. But when it came to being able to deliver business value within a time-box, they couldn’t do it. It seems as though they were using the Scrum nouns, but not doing the Scrum verbs.

Unfortunately, I run across this quite often in my Adventures in Agile.  Often times a manager will purchase a book on Scrum, read through the various artifacts and start enforcing the various nouns related to Scrum.

They will start by creating a team, use the terms sprint, backlog, user stories, and even utilize some of the meetings such as a daily scrum.  While this may be a great start, they quickly run into difficulties and instead of working through the troubles that are discovered, they blame Scrum and go back to their original process (which obviously didn’t work well – why else would they be looking for an alternative).

People take comfort in their existing processes, so often times revert back quickly once the light is turned on some of the dark corners that never received attention before.  It is extremely important for the team to understand why they are doing Scrum, not just the nouns involved.  Understanding the reasons they are performing these actions (the verbs) is crucial, otherwise, it becomes another mindless process and the people are excluded.