Ken Schwaber – Always Telling It Like It Is

Ken Schwaber, national Agile Thought Leader and co-developer of the Scrum development framework, was the keynote speaker at the Central Ohio Agile Alliance’s (COHAA) 2nd Annual “Path to Agility” Conference this past month on May 26, 2011.

Here are some memorable quotes from an interview of him with the folks over at IT Martini:

No, I’m not trying to change the entire organization, but change in software development does change an organization.” – In reference to whether Scrum is less about changing IT software and product development and more about changing how organizations get work done.

A methodology tells you what to do, a process is a framework to establish some boundaries. A methodology cannot possible tell people what do to when they’ve never been there.” – In reference to Scrum not being a methodology, but rather a process.

Scrum is like buying a mirror and then creating a program to look in it several times a week. You will get a critical assessment of what you look like.”

Selling a product means saying ‘this is the answer to your problems’ and ‘if you buy this, you will be excellent.’ Scrum, on the other hand, is used to ‘find out,’ selling an idea removes the belief in a silver bullet.”

A support center with a complicated work flow, a support center is a huge flow of similar things. ‘Unique things’ is the home ground of Scrum.” – On when NOT to use Scrum.

As always. Telling it like it is.

[HT: IT Martini]

5 Replies to “Ken Schwaber – Always Telling It Like It Is”

  1. I have seen Ken speak and admire his passion for Scrum. I must say though that there is a lot of misunderstanding about methodology out there. In the last 30 years I’ve used a number of methodologies as a project manager. A methodology does NOT tell you what to do. It provides recommendations, process, best practices and all kinds of other input to the project management effort. However, this input must be APPLIED by an experienced, competent project manager. If you do whatever the methodology tells you all the time, your project will cost too much, take too long, and ultimately fail.

    There is no doubt that Scrum is a more open framework based on discovery rather than prescription with some great processes that hold the promise of major benefits to a project. I like it and use it for that reason. But to differentiate it by saying it is not a methodology is, IMHO, wrong.

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  3. To me it seems disingenuous to say that Scrum is merely a framework and not a methodology, given all the prescriptive elements of Scrum.

    I can buy into Lean being a framework, or even Waterfall; none of them tell you how many meetings to have, when to have them.

    However Scrum has a large number of enforced meetings, rituals, roles etc.

    It is a methodology; it may be incomplete enough that they try to use the framework card to handwave over it, but it is far too prescriptive to call it a framework honestly in my opinion.

    That’s like saying baseball is a framework; baseball is not a framework.

    The manifesto is a framework; but scrum is a prescriptive methodology and it seems silly to think otherwise.


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