199RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department
- Feb 4, 2002Jonas Bengtsson wrote:
> I've just read "Exploiting Chaos: Cashing in
> on the Realities of Software Development" by
> Dave Olson. In his book he proposes a
> "splinter department". This department is a place
> where very uncertain ideas can be tested, a
> nursery for new ideas. For instance, if a person
> gets a bright idea he can, with the management's
> approval, go to the splinter department for a couple
> of months and experimenting with the idea. If the
> experiments turn out good he might start a pilot
> project and so forth.
> The main reason for this department is that
> some ideas are too risky to explore inside a
> project and that some ideas are distractions
> from the main goal of a project.
> Is there a need for such a department in a Scrum
I am familiar with the book. I read it in the mid-90s.
Scrum uses a more reengineered approach, a Case Team,
in Hammer's terminology. A Case Team, by definition,
avoids hand-offs among teams, that require iteration
and rework among different teams, because those are
exactly the reasons why things get slowed down:
1) you need managers to talk and agree to do work
2) you need workers to take instructions from
3) you need workers to report to management what
is going on, and
4) managers to report to each other on progress,
(All the bureaucratic stuff that is undesirable and
slows things down, albeit, some of it is always
Instead in Scrum, new ideas are tried from within
the team, that is iteration and rework, if any,
stays within a single team. Experiments or prototypes
are labeled as such in the Product Backlog.
And they are implemented when they are allocated
to the Sprint Backlog within a Sprint. Progress
is reported through the Daily Scrums and the
decision to continue or to stop with the "experiment"
is evaluated daily.
In other words, Scrum mechanisms treat experiments
like any other task. In that sense, Scrum techniques
are universal i.e. they work for _any_ kind of
work that the team needs to accomplish,
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