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15087Re: [scrumdevelopment] Scrum is bad for employees (apparently)

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  • Nicholas Cancelliere
    Aug 1, 2006

      We've had some turnover at my company after adopting scrum.  We've been through two developers and a QA tester.  It is hard for some people to get out of old habits.  For the developers the idea of having to write code that works (unit tested, and checked into the build) and always being able to have a near shippable product is a big change.  They're used to letting guts hang out and not have to worry about the mess until the mad rush towards the end, and let QA find all the issues and report them back to be fixed!

      Our QA manager was never able to relax and allow for acceptance testing early in the iteration.  They insisted on testing everything at the end when the code was completely "frozen."

      On Jul 31, 2006, at 5:45 PM, Richard Banks wrote:

      I have to share this with everyone…


      I’ve been running scrum effectively now for about 6 months and apart from the occasional stakeholder trying to override the product owner it’s truly bedded down and delivery real business value to the company.  Anyway, I had a couple of resignations from my staff last Friday – which was the conclusion of our last sprint.


      The first was because scrum makes people accountable for their work and exposes them.  Employee A is a difficult person who only has two ways of estimating any job in a sprint.  It’s either 8 hours or the entire sprint – no middle ground, no thought given to what the job might involve.  “That’s all there is and don’t tell me otherwise because I’m the one who has to deliver”.  The grief I had trying to get this bloke to stop being a child and act like a near-normal adult!!  He’s the kind of developer who doesn’t like others code reviewing their work, who thinks they know better than everyone else and who, because of their superior brain power, knows that of course the rules don’t apply to them.


      Well the pressure finally hit the limit and the resignation came and the thing that got them out the door was that scrum was a “stupid process”.  It’s apparently stupid because making teams self organizing and self managing means that the boss doesn’t have to do anything anymore.  Oh, and of course it’s stupid because you have to tell everyone else what you’ve been doing and you’ve got to talk to the rest of the team each day and the rest of the team are dumb because I’m so smart and I could do a better job than any one else on my own in my spare time.


      I thanked God big time for relieving me of this pain in the neck!  And I got big smiles from the rest of my staff when I let them know he was gone.


      Employee B (who just happened to be mentored by Employee A) left because “scrum is too restrictive”.  “What do you mean?” I asked innocently.  “Well“, came the reply, “when I have to do a job I really like to investigate it, to understand what’s going on deep in the code, to really get a feel for the inner workings of the problem and the intricacies involved.  Having to deliver every 2 weeks means that I don’t really have time to do a lot of investigation.  There are a lot of things I do at home that could really improve the product and I don’t get to try them here because we keep having to do things from the backlog”.   Translation:  I can’t muck around and play as much as I used to.  Why don’t I get to decide on my own how the product works. Scrum means I’m accountable for my time and I don’t like that.


      The moral to the story?  Scrum is obviously really bad for your employees – after all it makes them accountable, visible and efficient and no employee wants that to happen (well, at least the bad ones don’t).


      P.S. As you may have inferred I didn’t exactly cry myself to sleep on Friday night.


      - Richard.


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