Scrum

Hate SAFe Machine Update – “Remove references to Scrum…” foolishness

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I could do this all day. Easily pick apart the ignorance in the subject article. It seems that hate knows no bounds with some people. Get over yourself already!! An entire collection of thinly veiled insults masquerades as arguments in a petition set against damaging Scrum. Facts be damned in the articles arguments.

So here is just one of many potential dismantling opportunities for the ignorant and arrogant arguments presented in the linked/subject article.

reference link: http://remove-scrum-from-safe.tilda.ws/PO

So, the haters #removescrum argument is that SAFe says “the PO is the only team member empowered to accept stories as done” and this is an anti-pattern.

However, if we navigate over the Scrum Guide and read for 30 seconds… we find this:

The Product Owner explains what Product Backlog items have been “Done” and what has not been “Done”;

Scrum Guide

Now, anyone with basic reading comprehension skills could draw the conclusion here that these two statements are saying exactly the same thing (the SAFe statement is aligned with the Scrum Guide). Especially if you read the entire Scrum Guide. More below.

It is the responsibility of the Dev Team to ensure the delivery of high-quality increments

Anti-SAFe petition

The quote above from the petition actually does not appear in the Scrum Guides. Now, if I wanted (which I wouldn’t ever attack people and a framework like they do; this is called defense) to stoop to the low level of the anti-SAFe folks I could also play twisted word games. The Scrum Guide actually NEVER states that the Development Team is responsible to ensure the delivery of high-quality increments. Wait, what? Yes. The emperor has no clothes!!

There are seven uses of the word responsible in the Scrum Guide and only two of those are referenced to the Development Team and NEITHER is about the statement in the petition. The Scrum Guide says the Development Team is responsible for estimates and conducting the Daily Scrum event.

Now, how many “SAFe zeolots” are out there creating petitions to remove poor understanding of Scrum from Scrum? Zero is the answer. But in their extreme bias and zeal to destroy people and a framework that are massively more successful than they are… judgment and intellect are clouded.

The Scrum Master ensures that the Development Team has the meeting, but the Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum. 

The Development Team is responsible for all estimates. 

Scrum Guide

Further quotes supporting the SAFe translation (that avoids restating the Scrum Guide for obvious reasons) and disproves the “remove scrum people” arguments.

The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog. Product Backlog management includes: …

also:
The increment must be in useable condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to release it.

also:
Scope may be clarified and re-negotiated between the Product Owner and Development Team as more is learned.

– Scrum Guide

However, the Product Owner remains accountable.

The Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog, including its content, availability, and ordering.

– Scrum Guide

E.g. So, I am a manager of employees and I am accountable and responsible for the employees but I am NOT the person empowered to accept the employees as fit for the job. That is the argument of the Remove Scrum thinkers.

No person would accept that management job nor would leadership be setting the stage for success. That path leads to toxicity and bad culture.

So, in fact the opposite of the claims of the #removescrum -mers is true. If there is no clear leadership function on the team and the Development Team has the ultimate authority to accept work as done then an impasse and problem is created more often than not.

You have to take the entire document into consideration not part of it or just one word. The arguments of the Remove Scrummers lead to a PO that cannot bear enough influence on the backlog because they can only explain not break disagreements. This is why the guide says the PO is a manager of the backlog and is responsible and accountable for the backlog. This is also where the argument of the Remove Scrummers fails. They have self-contradicted from the source they claim supports their fallacious argument.

Now, I get that the goal is for the Development Team to have some independence from the traditional Taylorism and PHB. That is not absolute independence though and the argument of the Remove Scrummers stretches the intent of the Scrum Guide. The PO prioritizes and sets the stage for a set of PBI’s that the Development Team may select from to create a Sprint Backlog. The Sprint Backlog does not exist without the Product Backlog. They are not mutually exclusive.

At the review, “the Scrum Team and stakeholders collaborate about what was done in the Sprint.”

The Product Owner explains what Product Backlog items have been “Done” and what has not been “Done”;

-The Scrum Guide

This statement uses the word explain because that is the actionable intent. Most cases will go exactly like that on a high-performing Scrum team. But not all. Sometimes there is disagreement about what is done and what is not done. Post-explaining the PO will have the ultimate authority and responsibility to determine what is done and what is not done.

For any rational person not hell bent on disproving and destroying the SAFe — this is a clear purpose and part of the PO role.

“Stories” in the Backlog

This word is one place that we could argue for an adjustment. Except that we are talking about Scrum and Agile behavior at scale. Oops, nevermind.

In the SAFe, we also discuss improvement items that are also in the Backlogs. They are not necessarily stories. Tasks are not recommended, but could also be a PBI in the backlog model. The concept of Stories comes from XP and the Scrum Guide does not use the term. It uses the generic product backlog item concept. Which easily translates to enterprise backlog models as we use in the SAFe.

Now, what is really interesting is that the Scrum apologists will argue for “pure” Scrum and it doesn’t include XP. In the same breathe, they will say that Scrum is Agile. So which is it? Immutable or not? Associated or not?

I have never seen or heard of a successful use of Scrum without good technical practices…like those we learn of in XP. Ruh-roh!! Also, and even more so, I have never, ever heard a Scrum team claim they were not Agile. Bazinga!

So it is ok for Scrum zealots to mutate Scrum and use it is intended, as a framework for managing a complex process but not anyone else? #hypocrisy

Why Does Agile Cause Arguments? – Bath Scrum User Group Lightning Talk – YouTube

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Bazinga!

Representing the Customer – Scaling Frameworks

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Someone who claims expertise in and loves to play the agile game of thrones recently posted an article on Forbes.com about the Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Enterprises (SAFe). Of particular interest the author took the time to denigrate the SAFe by knocking it for not having a focus on the customer. In fact, the author, Denning, specifically states that he is worried because, “the customer is almost absent.” Denning even went through the effort to point out that the SAFe “only” has the customer represented by this little icon in the Large Solution space.

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Misunderstanding Fake Agile – The Agile Game of Thrones

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A remarkable pattern is occurring right now. And for many years. We thought the agile war was over? Experts that are supposedly focused on improving organizations around the world have given in to a state of confusion, or perhaps pure jealousy and selfishness, that leads them down a path of destruction of people and things. And we all thought the Agile revolution was about “helping others do it, better.” On face value, the Agile Manifesto is about BUILDING and CONSTRUCTING a better culture. Through building new habits based on the four core values and twelve principles.

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When Scrum and Agile are not enough

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One of the more common anti-patterns of Agile adoption is the misconception that simply following methods such as Scrum will lead to development becoming ‘Agile.'”

© Scaled Agile, Inc.


I couldn’t agree more. In nearly every case over my 20+ year career that I’ve been invited to help scale business agility, “to become Agile – in behavior and nature”, in an enterprise the organization was already struggling with achieving agility using just Scrum and Agile. This is the basis of my often repeated statement, “Agile is dead.”

To my dismay, it is also common for the great technical and business practices and concepts from XP to not exist in the lexicon of the organization. Or, only part of XP is used, often incorrectly. It is shameful that Kent Beck’s work is not more prominent in the space. I’m glad to see that he is becoming more active again recently.

A better coaching approach (than simply proposing Scrum and Agile in a CAS) is to understand the market of tools, best practices, frameworks, et cetera and how to apply them appropriately without bias to customer context to drive better outcomes for the business or organization.

As a continuous learner, this is also why I have so much respect Alex Yakyma’s work with OrgMindset. Thinking tools are needed to properly apply and use complex tools in complex organizations.  Alex said something very important and interesting during our last discussion/debate about the topics of “Agile” tools and frameworks. Paraphrasing, he said, “I’m just using everything that I know and all of my skills and experience to help businesses make more money.”

This statement is important because often Agile zealots lose sight of the purpose of business – to create wealth – for the shareholders or beneficiaries of the organization. Agile and Scrum are not the goal.

Furthermore, we often forget that Agile and Scrum start out in a state of death. Agile and Scrum are literally just words on a page. They must be given life.

#scaledagile #scrum #agile #scaledagileframework #business #safe

Coder Culture – Crazy and Crashing

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At a Product Owner Community of Practice event a few months ago I had a very interesting conversation with some great folks. We were discussing the topic of testing on an Agile team. During the discussion, someone mentioned a recent coder comment along the lines of, “I was hired as a developer, not a tester.”

Hell, I’ve heard this comment numerous times in my career! Agilists are crying. The DevOps folks are considering a jump! Call the police! Heresy!

I pointed out that as an “evil” Scrum master I would want to comment to this “developer” that, “what I am hearing is that you are a programmer, not a developer.” Now, we shouldn’t let our own emotions drive our behavior in this way so I wouldn’t recommend saying this to anyone. There are constructive ways to address bad philosophy and behavior in the system. Moving on from the shock and awe…

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Planning Defects into the system

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Why on earth do we do that?

Team A, an Agile Release Train (ART), or the mythical Scrum team, has a lot of technical debt. In an effort to reduce the technical debt, management decides to create a bunch of new “container” “FEATURES” in the product backlog to address batches of defects. Because they want to understand the value of the (fixing) defects.

Except there is a problem. Defects are not new features. Well, in a sane software world we hope not? Defects are typically created while coding or configuring a new feature, right? Is it a defect yet? Not really. Fix it NOW, not later. If it makes it to production? What is the cause of defects making it to production? Poor coding, standards, quality and automation, et cetera? No DevOps? or do defects occur magically in existing features (real ones)? (not my code!!) We all know how computers have minds of their own…

I’ve seen that oddly familiar pattern of desire to package up defect fix/technical debt effort into a feature or story or a suite before. I call these “projects”, “probably to be implemented with waterfall.” That type needs project managers and factory workers, not Lean-Agile practitioners, creative knowledge workers driven by autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

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