You're doing SCRUM wrong! And what is Scrum after all? ...

I've had this discussion once too many times, I had to put some thoughts down on paper.

Often enough I've heard said "but you're doing Scrum wrong", "the Scrum guide says" or worse "we're doing Scrum by the book" (wink wink Matthias ;) and this invariably drives me nuts.

Scrum is not important, the customer is.
Scrum is not important, agility is.
Scrum is not important, the people living it are.

Remember the agile manifesto, "people and interactions over processes and tools".

For me, Scrum is only a common language, a set of defined practices that help you fall into the pit of success by helping a group of people start working together.

When you are in the Tuckman "forming" phase of teamwork, searching how to work together, discovering a new project, a new company or even a new domain, having a set of rules you can drop on your process is like fixing a few variables on a complex equation. This freezes part of the problem and enables your mind to concentrate on other parts.

Soon enough you will have to unlock those variables to attempt solving the equation as a whole, but in the meantime you might have solved part of the equation already or at least be able to fix more appropriate variables.

Scrum is only the beginning. That's why I often criticize teams that still follow Scrum "by the book" a few weeks or months after introducing it (and here I explicitly leave aside those who cherry picked one or two practices without understanding the whole construct).

Scrum is only the beginning. That's why you see so many mature teams doing a Scrum-ban mix. I bet the team members reflect regularly and found out a sustainable way to work together.

Scrum is only the beginning. Get going, reflect and get over it with your customer, your people and agility in mind!

Header: Scrum from Steven Lilley (CC BY-SA 2.0)