An Open Letter To Those Modifying Scrum To “Fit”

Sir,

Scrum is not about keeping the faith, I am completely committed to scrum, as, I think, are you. It’s about hearts and minds. American military generals bang on about it all the time and for good reason. For months and months we’ve been calling it a “stand up” or a “scrum” and, on the very eve of launching our latest product, which was designed, written, managed and launched using scrum, we switch to calling it a “huddle”. What this says, unconsciously perhaps, is that we stopped doing a standup and when we switched to a “huddle” the product got launched; not a good advert for doing scrum.

Might sound like a bunch of crap, but it’s all psychologically sound.

We are a scrum team, regardless of whether we’re actually in a sprint, if we all stand up at the beginning of a day, then we’re doing a stand up. We can do a huddle if there’s less people and it’s at a different time of the day, maybe. There are ceremonies and artefacts of Scrum and the last time I looked, a huddle wasn’t one of them. The rules are few, simple and really easy to follow. Breaking them, for whatever reason, should not be done. If you’re breaking the rules of Scrum, you’re NOT doing scrum! Simple as that. If you break the rules of chess, while you’re playing chess, you’re not playing chess and you’ll probably get a punch on the nose from your opponent for cheating to boot.

One of my responsibilities as a scrum master and dedicated member of the team is to improve the scrum process, this can only be done with more and more business buy in – if we start diluting it now, then we take two steps back. The product got delivered BECAUSE OF scrum, not in spite of it. Without scrum it would have been a different story (probably wouldn’t have failed, but it wouldn’t have been launched yet). I can only do my job with the help of the team and, although I don’t think you called it a huddle because you want to rename the standup to huddle, I need your support in pushing through scrum, which includes not diluting it.

Do you understand my point? It’s about cohesion and making sure we’re always an advert for ourselves and the way we do things and the reason for doing things and that we get things done BECAUSE of the CHOICES WE MAKE as a TEAM on how we do the things we do.

Kind regards,

Mike Pearce

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