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Scrum, The Good Bits: An Introduction

This is a series of articles discussing the best pieces of Scrum. The pieces you - as a developer or Project Manager - can steal and start using independently of a wider Scrum implementation. We'll discuss which bits of Scrum you can rip-off without drinking any of the Certified Agile Consultant Kool-Aid - in short, we'll be looking at how to do Scrum for small teams and startups.

Scrum is a business process, and like any business process, it sits between you and the work you need to get done. If it doesn't help you get that work done more effectively it's a big waste of time. Good developers, like everyone else, hate having their time wasted.

Scrum is often implemented by someone who went on a Scrum Master Certification (NOW 90% MORE AGILE™) once, and is attempting to implement it as a set of cargo-cult rituals in the wild hope it'll make everything better, and more Agile or something. Sometimes this'll be a Project Manager, and sometimes this'll be someone billing their consulting time as a Scrum Expert. Planning sessions become elaborate Arts and Crafts sessions with Post-Its and Sharpies, the Product Backlog becomes time sheets by any other name, and Velocity gets used as a personal productivity measure.

In short, in the wrong hands, Scrum becomes a tool for wasting developer time, and neatly tracking, graphing, and reporting the resulting drop-off in productivity.

This is a huge shame, because done right, Scrum protects and empowers developers. It pushes commercial and business considerations back in to the hands of the business and the customers, while placing implementation decisions back with the developers where it belongs.

Why I really love SCRUM

On DROdio

 We've been using scrum all over the company for the past year, and the more I use it, the more i love it.  I previously wrote a blog about using the scrum agile development methodologies in a non-development capacity -- i.e., with a sales or marketing team.  I got a lot of questions from that blog about exactly why Scrum was so great, so in this post my goal is to tell you why I love Scrum so much, and why I recommend it to be adopted within any company (and if the US Government ever implemented Scrum -- correctly -- we'd seriously save trillions of dollars.  That's probably an impossible wish, but  after all, thinking big is free.)

Here's a good 7 minute video describing Scrum.  If you're not at all familiar with the methodology, you might want to read my case study below before you watch the video -- it'll make more sense that way.

Video: Scrum in 7 Minutes:

Scrum Case Study:

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