I’ve just picked up my latest Scrum adventure book, Professional Scrum Development with Visual Studio 2012 by Richard Hundhausen, and came across the following quote:
You can think of Scrum as being like the game of chess. Both have rules. For example, Scrum doesn’t allow two Product Owners just as chess doesn’t allow two kings. When you play chess, it is expected that you play by the rules. If you don’t, then you’re not playing chess. This is the same with Scrum. Another way to think about it is that both Scrum and chess do not fail or succeed. Only the players fail or succeed. Those who keep playing by the rules will eventually improve, though it may take a long time to master the game.’
I read it over a few times and realized just how true this is. Now, before you go gather your pitchforks and call me a Scrum hippie, let’s just get one thing straight. I am not advocating that Scrum is the ONLY solution, however, I am advocating that if you are going to be doing a Scrum implementation, you need to follow the rules of Scrum, otherwise call it something else.
All too often I hear clients wanting to implement Scrum, then quickly wanting to modify things to fit their organization. Not just naming conventions, but even some of the artifacts. I’m fine with this, however, let’s not kid ourselves and call it Scrum, we are utilizing components of the framework but not following the directions. To continue utilizing the chess example, it would be like taking the chess pieces, but changing the rules to allow the knight to move differently than what the rules lay out.
So if you are going to implement Scrum, make sure you follow the rules, otherwise, let’s not pretend we are utilizing Scrum and also don’t be surprised if you don’t realize the results that all the statistics indicate if you aren’t following the rules.