5 Common Sense Guidelines for Scrum

Common Sense Guidelines for ScrumI’ve seen a lot of Scrum and agile transformations occur, many of them successful and many of them not (or at least not on the first try). I’ve seen more than one team sabotage their transformation by forgetting a few bits of common sense, so here are a 5 simple guidelines for Scrum to help you on your way.

1)  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often this happens. Regardless of what process or methodology you’re using, if you’re projects are already coming out the way you like, don’t change anything. Scrum isn’t necessarily the best fit for every project or team. There is no “one size fits all” in the world of Software Development.

2)  Scrum doesn’t have all the answers.

Scrum should be simple and lightweight. This is one of the reasons it’s often referred to as a framework rather than a methodology. Scrum fails to be prescriptive on purpose because no two teams are alike, so it’s impossible to outline a full and robust process that will work for everyone in every situation. Stick to the key tenets, but don’t be afraid to fill in the blanks on your own, just make sure to do so with an agile mindset.

3)  Don’t expect any miracles.

You’ve probably heard this one. Scrum is not a silver bullet. It is not a magic cookie. Scrum will not turn poor developers into good developers, nor solve a host of other problems your team or company may be facing. As with most things, the effectiveness of Scrum will emerge in direct correlation to the energy that goes into doing it right, not just by the team but by the organization as a whole.

4)  Conflict is not a bad thing.

Scrum can be painful. It’s designed to make impediments visible and that means hard conversations. As much as we would like to pretend otherwise, we’re all only human. Our bosses are human. Our coworkers are human. Our clients are human. We make mistakes and sometimes we don’t get along. Conflict is natural when dealing with different people and personalities. Let it happen and learn from it.

5)  Practice makes perfect.

Like everything else in life, you’re probably not going to be good at Scrum on the first try, but you should be moving in the right direction. Was it awkward? That’s okay. So was yoga the first time I tried it, but after a lot of practice, it feels good now. Have a retrospective and make your second attempt better. That’s why they call it Continuous Improvement.