Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Becoming Agile - Common misconception in agile Scrum

Lean and agile share common concepts including common misunderstanding. I encounted one while reading Eric Ries "The Lean Startup". Near the end of chapter 4, Ries writes "students have an overwhelming temptation to focus on the tactics it illustrates". A little further down, he writes, "The Lean Startup is not a collection of individula tactics. It is a principle approach to new product development. The only way to make sense of its recommendations is to understand the underlying principles that make them work".

Similary, Scrum functions well as a container for other techniques, methodolgies, and practices. Just creating roles prescribed by Scrum and adapting practices is not going a project agile. Neither is trying to hire a consultant who'll come in and give instructions to members. Scrum just makes the problems transparent so that members themselve will be able to see it more clearly and take necessary accords to improve the situation.

A person was complaining about evil of telecommuting and how every company should not allow it. He gave an example of deciding not to allow telecommuting. He is partially correct. I know of a US software subsidiary in Japan. Unfortunately, the president of the Japanese subsidiary doesn't speak Japanese, have knowledge of Japanese customs, nor understand the Japanese market. That really isn't the main problem - the main problem is that whenever I phoned him, he's always at home. In fact, everybody at the company seems to be at home. To make the matter worse, nobody wants to come to hold a meeting. At a company like this, I don't think telecommuting should be allowed.

Nevertheless, I know of several successful open source companies with members telecommuting. The point is, there's not absolute practice that fits all situations. Project owner and members should decide what works for them the best in their current situation. Lastly, remember that situation changes over time so adjust practices to fit the "current" situation - just don't institute it once and forget about it.

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