SCRUM can’t fix your broken culture either

I was having a coffee with some mates, we were pointing at all the things we can’t stand in our company. This is more a drill since our boss is unable to take action based on our complaints. It’s a way to mitigate our frustration.

Suddenly from the bottom of the room, we heard: “Why are we not using SCRUM? it will resolve all our problems, won’t it?”. After a quick silence, everybody started to discuss if we are using SCRUM yet, why and why not and all this kind of stuff that really bored us.

One of the worst thing SCRUM, and Agile by extension, have brought with them is the idea that practices and rituals can fix your broken culture. From my view, to believe that some processes described in a book are going to solve problems which you can’t fix is a very naive idea. In this particular case is an example that this person has understood nothing.

To make SCRUM work you need to build a culture based on confidence in every member of the team, between client and team and business people and team. Before that, you need to build a multidisciplinary team of professionals and again that is not the goal, but it is the vehicle to achieve our goals. Even with a team, even with a trusted relationship, the application of SCRUM can still fail. You have to lay the foundation before you start to build.

The good thing about Agile is it could help you to build these kinds of teams and relationships. You can use the practices and rituals described by the people behind the acronym and get some success but the most important thing is to interiorize the agile principles and to understand the gist of these practices and rituals, in this way you will be able to adapt them to your context.

In this industry, there aren’t silver bullets nor shortcuts and you will have to deal with other people.

“It’s much easier to convince the processor to do what I want than some people.” Marko Poutiainen

Note: the title of this post is a rephrase of this tweet.