Since a while I am doing Scrum. A bitt less these days, but the different perspective I have now allows me to let my thoughts linger a bit around Scrum and not so much within.
While my thoughts did what they do during a 3 week holiday, one kept stubbornly reappearing.
I must admit that Scrum is really simple from terms, rules, framework, method point of view. It’s hard to do, yes – but easy to explain. I have problems with the terminology though. Scrum is for Germans no word. It’s for most British people I met neither a word – so it becomes an akronym. If I explain that it comes from Rugby and a few more theings, the British at least now what Rugby is, while Germany does not. So there is no recognition, connotation or connection to make at all for the Germans.
Then we come across the word “Sprint”. Ryan Ripley wrote already about it a while back. And I disagree. Suggesting that you can run something like an ultra-marathon in sprints does carry the sustainability effect. It doesn’t transport anything actually. Sprints deliver a piece of working software – Sport-Sprints are the end-result. Once you are over the finish line you are done. The Sport-Sprint is the only aim – and the next Sport-Sprint which follows is maybe days later. In contrast to the duration of a Sport-Sprint (10-30 seconds) and then hours of rest, in Scrum it works the other way around. Days of Sprint and hours of rest. I agree, it is intense, as Jeff / Ryan describe it, but a marathon is too.
Planning and Retrospective are fine. Scrum as a definition for this method is in these days probably not to change, because it has developed like a brand. But we could change Sprint to something more meaningful, which carries the message across, of incremental delivery, sustainable pace, (sustainable) intensity and relatively short. So we have to answer:
- What is short?
- Can be repeated often with short breaks in between?
- We get better over time if we do it correctly?
- Delivers every time we complete it a working result?
Another word is agile. Unfortunately it transports everything and nothing. People are using it from the dictionary, others mean the agile manifesto and a whole library of wisdom. While Scrum is to me a rather neutral word, agile is positive but abused. It is abused by some not intentionally as they believe it comes from the dictionary. If you say “Autoencoders” people will say “Hä?” (at least in Germany). You will have to explain.
If I say “Agile” people will nod. Because they can translate the word. If I deliver something fast but not sustainable they will still call this an agile approach. If I deliver something which doesn’t form a slice of the software, but fast, they will call it agile. They will call anything which is “quick” “agile”. I don’t fucking mean agile, I mean agile!
Thanks for reading,