Do you use Scrum in your office?

(Daniel Hollands) #1

I’m interested in how companies in the local area actively use scrum (or other AGILE systems) in their day to day work.

  • Yes
  • No, but we use another AGILE system (comment below)
  • No, but we use a non-AGILE system (comment below)
  • No, we don’t do anything special

0 voters

(Max Woolf) #2

We use lower-case ‘a’ agile.

Scrum is just training wheels for an agile group but imo truly agile groups evolve to work in the most efficient way possible for them. ‘Agile’ is too much of a cult now with an entire industry popping up around it. It has lots of good ideas, but it’s become too polluted.

I wrote a (shameless plug) blog post about it last year :slight_smile:

(Dave Evans) #3

We do XP and agile - have been for nearly 15 years. Scrum has become more a big company technique for herding cats. I think very few organisations actually DO agile or Scrum these days. All the processes have interesting artefacts and ceremonies, but the idea behind agile is continuous evolution of the team.

(Daniel Thompson) #4

We do something vaguely agile. There is a board showing cards, with columns representing the status of each card. There are fixed periods of time during which we work through a defined list of tasks from the backlog in priority order. I try very hard to stop developers building more features than the customer has requested (which is a lot harder than it sounds). We try to automate as much as possible, and update processes based on lessons learned. I feel like I’ve absorbed a lot of agile over the past 10 years and it sort of naturally comes out now, without me really trying to follow a Methodology.

(Dave Adlakha-Russell) #5

Does distributed agile count? We’re split across 2-3 countries and 3-4 timezones so I don’t think we’re ‘pure’ scrum/agile but we follow the ideas behind it fairly closely.

(Jim Gumbley) #6

Agile is basically lightweight process developed by and tailored to team, and I wouldn’t work in any other way. Sadly the phrase has been over used and abused by snake oil salespeople.

Scrum is quite a cynical attempt to systematise and sell some of the practises that make agile work, while making it more palatable to micromanagers.

I would not recommend learning scrum. Just find a team which works well together and start making notes about what works.

(Andy Wootton) #7

I’ve just answered “Scrum” because that’s what I used last but I’m being slowly convinced that I’ve taken a first step towards Lean. I recently blogged links to a set of posts by that explain why, brilliantly

There is no Agile process, only ‘agile thinking’ but it’s amazing how many people think there is. The guys who wrote the Agile Manifesto all came from different companies with their own processes and wrote down what they all agreed on.

‘The Agile family’ encompasses lots of optional stuff that you make your own process from. Scrum is a starting point as it gives a framework to build a process in. It’s a good way to migrate an organisation from Big-Everything-Up-Front to small batches without damaging the minds of managers who can think only in project terms. Some people really struggle to understand Scrum and many think they are ‘doing it’ when they’ve just built a façade on their old ways of working. If you believe Project Management works for software then you are probably going to struggle, as you have to throw away your religion.

p.s. more potential for confusion:

The word ‘project’ has a very specific meaning in traditional PM. Life is easier if you call Agile and Lean a ‘product development’. If you use the word ‘project’, it cannot mean what it used to, so don’t, because there may still be times where you have to talk about projects with the original meaning.

Kanban is both the idea of a board on the wall and a work scheduling process that replaces Scrum and uses the board. You can have a board but be ‘doing’ something that is not the Kanban Lean process, including Scrum. I’ve only just worked this out.

(Drew Smith) #8

We only started doing scrum around 7 weeks ago - we are currently in the middle of our 4th fortnightly sprint.

I’ve found there to be many benefits both personal and to the company as a whole.

(Daniel Hollands) #9

@drewstiff How did you get started? Is there someone that has done scrum before leading the process, or are you all learning it together at the same time, and if so, how?

(Jim Gumbley) #10

any learning of lightweight software methodologies is much more akin to an occult initiation than sitting down and i.e. leaning javascript from the crockford book or studying knuth

(Andy Wootton) #11

@LimeBlast I did a 5 minute Scrum guide for someone at the last Silicon Canal. Are you going on Thursday? I hope to. I can do it again if you like. I’m pretty sure you get it but can’t believe it’s so simple. Scrum isn’t really the process. If Agile was sport, Scrum would be a pitch layout and rule book for a game. You still have to know how to play.

(Daniel Hollands) #12

I’ll probably pop along, so yeah, that would be cool. Any chance you might be willing to do a talk for Backslash at some point too?

(Andy Wootton) #13

I did my first ‘talk in front of people’ for a while last week and I’ve almost finished apologising for what I said, so yeah, why not? Whatever it is. As long the comments aren’t like Slashdot.

(Daniel Hollands) #14

Excellent, thank you. I’ll be in touch once we’ve got something a bit more organised.

(Drew Smith) #15

My company paid for Paul from Green Gorilla Apps to come down and give us a session on Scrum, a lot of the rest has been fixing problems as we’ve noticed them appear. I was lucky in that there were only a few people involved and all of them were invested in the transition. I think Paul’s session helped in that respect as it didn’t seem like “the dev team have this idea and it’s a bit wierd… shall we give it a go then we can always scrap it if it doesn’t work” which I’m guessing is a major failing point in many moves to Scrum.

(Andy Wootton) #16

@Drewstiff My team’s introduction to Scrum came via team members being curious people who were were in touch with industry trends and who knew the old ways weren’t working for us, so we were desperate to find something better.

In contrast, I get the impression from LinkedIn groups that the initiative often comes from managers who have heard about the latest silver bullet. Personally, I think that if the mangers know more about current techniques than your developers then one or both of those groups aren’t doing their job. If the developers resist the change, you’re stuffed.

You can ‘do Scrum’ and fail. Many even fail to ‘do Scrum’. Scrum is only a very simple framework into and around which you need to integrate lots of other practices, to achieve good results. The important thing is to change attitudes away from fixed plans, towards agility and that is what matters.