Scrum is a nice idea, but I’ve never worked in a situation in which it actually worked. Here are some of the realities that cause Scum to fail. These are not easy metablockers to remove!
- Culture of blame turns standups into “who can sound the most productive” posturing meetings because no one wants to be blamed.
- Blockers raised in standups enter the upper management black hole of apathy. Indeed, raising issues just gets you blamed for them, so you are trained to shut up and make your own lifeboat (update your resume) while the ship sinks.
- Team does not use a shared kanban to report status thus wasting time in standup reporting status rather than addressing blockers.
- Most people on the team have merely heard of Scrum–they have no idea what it actually is.
- There is no upper management or stakeholder support. You’ll be lucky to get feedback on your project once every two months let alone once every two weeks.
- Development is not actually being done by teams. A group of devs are actually each individually working on completely separate projects.
- Being transparent is just handing ammunition over to someone else to politically destroy you.
- Sufficient automated build/test/delivery infrastructure does not exist to even allow a team to iterate quickly.
- Estimates produced by velocity tracking are simply ignored by delusional hyper-optimistic upper management. There’s no way the project will take 7 months when they’ve already promised delivery to the customer in 2 without consulting the dev team.
- One person is expected to be the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Lead Developer for multiple projects.
- Upper management habitually bypasses the Product Owner, whimsically dumping new tasks into every sprint and habitually blaming others for the consequences of their micromanging maniacal meddling.
- The compensation structure of the organization does not reward exceptional performance.
- No one has full stack development skills. Developers get caught up in what their title should be relative to other employees.
- Retrospectives are just witch hunts.
- Managers want the usual status reports in addition to the status artifacts Scrum already provides. Neither are actually read nor responded to.
- Employees in the trenches really don’t care about improving company performance as long as they’re still getting paid. On the flip side, management doesn’t have the will or authority to fire dead weight and excessively obstinate change resistors.