Welcome!

Related Topics: Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Machine Learning

Java IoT: Article

Why Is Scrum So Widely Adopted and So Very Dangerously Deceptive

Just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, doesn’t mean it’s a duck

I was sitting in a meeting sometime ago with a company that was embracing Scrum like a ten year old being offered a warm plate of chocolate chip cookies. They were grabbing at it as fast as they're little hands could reach out and grab the goodies.

Watching this made me wonder what is was about Scrum that made them embrace it so emphatically. They had claimed to be an Agile shop for years, but were still failing to deliver quality software on time with in budget. Over the past years they refused every single proposed process improvement recommendation made by dozens of consultants. They literally went from zero process (using the name Agile to execute no process at all) to zealot Scrumbots overnight. After spending some time pondering this and interviewing a few people I found the answers I was looking for.

Scrum was allowing them to preform the magic trick of perceived success better than they had ever been able to before just using the generic fake Agile process. A scary realization. This of course was not the fault of the Scrum process. It was the team's refusal to truly change anything except a few timelines, titles of individuals, and a few names like iteration to sprint.

First lets look at the developers. Scrum did not require the developers to change anything they were doing except code less in a given iteration (now called sprint) because the only required change imposed on them was shorter deadlines. They were still not required to adopt agile programming practices, because the scrum process they implemented didn't advocate for change at a developer level, only a middle management level.

No code reviews, no difference in testing, no difference in the use of patterns or TDD, no difference in anything except, now missed deadlines were written off to "we are not only agile we are Scrum, push it to the next sprint". Bugs… they don't exist, they are errors or simply new requirements that need new user story written for them. Of course their favorite part of the process they implemented is that there is no design or architecture involved. Just cowboy coding as fast as their little fingers can spew the crap out to the screen.

Project managers were renamed Scrum Masters. They were not given the responsibilities of the role of Scrum Master as defined by scrum. They simply changed role names and continued to project manage.


Upper management doesn't care. They are planning the same and paying the same prices for projects. They are getting reports that improvements are taking place, but don't bother to look at the bottom line which isn't actually changing.

None of the several projects run under Scrum have come in within budget, on time, or any less buggy. It just shows me that the same thing I have watch over the years is still happening with software development process. Most places are only pretending to adopt them. The same sad truth remains, that they actually usually think that they are changing. They are whole organizations in denial about their development environments.

Like I said above this is not the fault of Scrum. I have seen it make improvements, but only when change actually happens. It must happen at the upper management level, the project (middle) management level, and huge changes have to happen at the developer level. Architecture on any decent size project is just as important as it ever was, so to think you can do without it is naïve and shows immaturity. I have been seeing the Waterfall syndrome happening way too much with Scrum. People look at the picture and read a few lines of information about the process and think they got it. Waterfall was iterative, people simply did not read the entire paper behind the diagram. Scrum needs much more implemented than the time management aspects shown in the diagram.

Agile processes require agile development practices, which include architecture and design. Without them, you are only pretending to execute Scrum. I would recommend taking a look at the Scaled Agile Framework. Scrum is one small blip in the big picture of enterprise development.

How do you avoid this company's same fate? Bring in an outside consultant who knows software process engineering and put them in charge. Your team's best thinking have gotten them to where they are today, if that is not where you want your company to be, their best thinking won't get you anywhere different tomorrow. I have now seen Scrum transform one organization's development team and process, but that team brought in a consultant and allowed that consultant to lead the initiative. Although there was some resistance to the changes being made, because a majority of the team went along with them, the rest eventually followed.

I do not believe Scrum offers anything more than any other process including OpenUP, the Unified Process, RUP, XP, etc. Where the difference between success and failure lies is in the implementation of them, actually executing them with someone who has successfully executed them on multiple projects, and your willingness to take and execute their advice. That will mean change. Change in skill sets of your people, or change in your people, but to believe you can go from using no process to implementing any of these processes without help and changing is just naive and guaranteed to fail. That is unless you fake it like the company from this blog did and so many others I have seen do.

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Everyone wants to use containers, but monitoring containers is hard. New ephemeral architecture introduces new challenges in how monitoring tools need to monitor and visualize containers, so your team can make sense of everything. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, David Gildeh, co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, will go through the challenges and show there is light at the end of the tunnel if you use the right tools and understand what you need to be monitoring to successfully use containers in your...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...