Knowing he had only one question to ask of the one who knows all, he started to feel a bit of pressure.
The pressure was on.
What question would he ask?
Amazing at how sometimes life truly imitate art (or, in our case, being a ScrumMaster). One week ago this evening I was climbing to the top of a mountain retreat. Instead of heading there to learn something, I was going to teach a two day Certified ScrumMaster Workshop. By the end of the week, it was I who had learned the most (although I am sure the students of this class walked away with some cool new insights about Scrum and how it applies in the real world!).
Back to the question. It actually is one I have been pondering for a few weeks.
“What if a team REJECTS Scrum?”
I have had a lot of experience with organizations (who are made up of many teams — using Scrum and not) implementing Scrum.
I have had to get used to the idea — based on experience — that not all organizations, or teams, actually DO successfully implement Scrum.
Scrum is not that “Silver Bullet” I kept saying to people that is was not.
And it is not.
Even to “me” as a ScrumMaster.
So Ken Schwaber and I had a conversation (it was brief…. via email… not me actually having to climb to the top of a mountain to speak with him (smile)).
Am I the only ScrumMaster experiencing this trend?
Could it just be *me*, I wondered?
Am I really worthy of coaching other ScrumMaster’s and their teams who are implementing Scrum today — and in the future?
And I found out something amazing.
Only about one out of four teams are successful implementing Scrum.
“Wow,” I thought.
This fact — even if it is based just on experience from others in the industry — hit me like a ton of bricks (this means it made a big impression on me, oh readers not from the USA).
Personally I am seeing better than this twenty-five percent success rate with Scrum. Some organizations (remember, who are made up of teams) are much higher than this (that is, they really are successful using this framework!).
And then I realized.
It probably has *nothing* to do with me or my skills as a ScrumMaster.
Stop and think about this.
And it made me feel very humbled.
So now I am faced with the fact that, “OK. The majority of teams fail using Scrum.”
And the other 75% will start to go back to their, “Old Habits.”
Which means most will go back and “die” what is being called an, “…. iterative and incremental death march.”
Think about that statement.
And what it means to you, as a ScrumMaster (or a member of a Scrum Team).
And what it means to your Scrum Team as a whole.
And then, what it means to your organization.
Sometimes, no matter what *you* personally do — no matter how hard you try — Scrum will fail.
OK… so “Scrum” will not “fail.”
The team, or organization, will not be able to handle what Scrum exposes on a daily basis. And this is a hard thing to swallow (err…. let me think…. how about “hard to understand and accept”).
As a ScrumMaster…. you need to deal with the fact — and accept this as a fact — that no matter what you do, and no matter how well you do it…. things will most likely blow up within an organization and they will not continue using Scrum.
They will go back to the old habits I have been writing about and talking about for years. Because sometimes it is just easier than facing the truth and working to improve yourself as a team or organization.
The truth hurts.
Is this something as a ScrumMaster you are able to accept?
And move on?
Something to think about for next week’s final installment of this series.
What *do* you do if your team is not succeeding with Scrum?
Or, what if your Scrum Team is succeeding and your organization is rejecting it?
Think about it.
The majority of time, Scrum does not work in an organization.
More next week.
July 2, 2007