Dear Scrum Letter
By Terry Bunio
Dear Scrum, I am sorry I have to write this in a letter, but I just found you to be distant and inflexible lately. I must admit when I first met you I was charmed by your processes and procedures. The form was liberating, I never felt so alive and everything seemed so clear and concise. But slowly I must admit the rigidity of the process has not allowed for the freedom that I and my projects need. I really did need a process where I could add requirements during a sprint when it made sense. I didn’t want to be limited in the duration of retrospectives if I thought there was more to discuss.
I guess I just need space.
And to be brutally honest, I was feeling really bad about referring to my team and clients as chickens and pigs. Although the metaphor was cute, it ended up being more divisive than anything. And I hated being referred to as a Scrum Master. The actual role seemed to diminish my value as a Project Manager and made me just a coach of the process instead of a valued team member. I felt that I wasn’t actually part of the team anymore.
I guess I have changed. It is not you, it is me.
More and more we just talked about Scrum and how we had to follow the process very diligently. Our discussions were only focused on Scrum topics. “What makes a good Product Owner?” and ”How to be a better Scrum Master” were the main topics. It seemed all we ever did was talk about you. We never talked about my feelings on User Story Mapping, Paper Prototyping, or other new methods that made me feel alive. In short, we were in a rut and not exploring anymore. We were just using a process for the sake of process and it felt like, well, waterfall.
I know those words hurt and I know the process is better than waterfall, but I felt we weren’t growing.
No, I haven’t met anyone new. But there is a whole world out there and maybe I need to date for a while until I discover someone I can truly be happy with. I just know I need someone who wants to change and adapt as much as I do. We will always have those items I learned from you and I will always have the Daily Stand ups, Retrospectives, and Technical Spikes. There is so much you taught me and you will always have a special place in my methodology heart.
I hope we can remain friends and maybe catch a movie someday. Maybe the Hobbit when it is released in 2012. Stay in touch.
Terry Bunio is currently a Principal Consultant at Protegra. He has managed multiple complex projects and provided Project Management, Architecture and Database leadership for companies such as Manitoba Public Insurance, LPL Financial, Assante Asset Management, Moventum, Government of Manitoba, Investors Group, and London Life. More recently Terry’s focus and passion has been on managing Lean projects and being part of Lean and Agile Project teams. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical book agile and the real world approaches.
Protegra helps organizations in the private and public sectors identify and solve tough business performance challenges. Protegra offers management consulting services focused on operational efficiencies. For organizations that use information technology as a competitive advantage, Protegra offers software services development and solutions.