New Scrum Article Available
Liked the article.
I think the problem that you are having comes from a deep seated human need
to want to control and predict the future and I don't know if you can ever
really overcome that without the recipient getting to the point where they
percieve the world as a complex system that in the end is unpredicable.
That idea makes lots of folks very uncomfortable at a very personal level.
It also goes against what people see as the "common sense" of the
increasingly sophisticated modern world. Doesn't this increase in
complexity in the world result from people "understanding" and "predicting"
the future through all this scientific endeavour that we have been doing for
the last few hundred years? If we just apply the tools and techniques that
has created the modern sophisticated world to software development then we
should be able to develop more complex systems.
The falicy of this "common sense" is that modern sophistication is the
result of "scientific planning" rather than the behavior of complex adaptive
There is an interesting novel that I am reading called Boomeritis that,
amoung a lot of other things, talks about the levels of cultural growth that
individuals can go through and it seems to speak to a lot of the issues you
are raising. Basically it says that you have to develop a world view that
allows complexity before you can understand these types of issues.
On another point: one of the concepts of chaotic systems that doesn't get
the play that it should is that "small changes in initial values can result
in large differences in the outcome of a process" and somehow I think that
idea needs to be brought into Scrum training as a further explanation for
the need to closely "Scrum manage" a project.
No matter how well someone measures past estimates against actuals even a
small change in the estimate can have a big effect on the outcome of a
chaotic/complex process no matter how good the model is or the resolution of
I read once (can't remember the reference) that there isn't sufficient space
in the universe to hold the information for one variable with enough
precision to effectively use it to absolutely predict the outcome of a
process, let alone all the variables in our processes. The most accurate
model of the real world is the real world so we need to keep an eye on it
because "things happen"
What this means for software development is that even though we can use
previous estimates as part of a process model for delivering software we
have to keep a sharp eye (Scrum management) on the process because it can
wonder off course simply because of these small values, even if the process
model is very tightly defined.
Models are good for helping to guide process behavior but you need the sharp
eye of Scrum management to monitor the process to watch for the inevitable
"wandering off course"
Industrial Technology Advisor
National Research Council
Industrial Research Assistance Program
From: Scrum Alliance [mailto:bzarnett@...]
Sent: August 28, 2003 5:24 AM
To: Ken Gamble
Subject: New Scrum Article Available
Morning fellow Scrum Master,
Ken has posted on control chaos, an article concerning why people have so
much trouble understanding Scrum. It can be found on his website at
http://www.controlchaos.com/scrumhard.pdf. Ken would appreciate comments on
SCRUM, COMPLEXITY, AND PROCESS IMPROVEMENT
Everyone likes Scrum. What's not to like? Scrum increases productivity,
improves return on investment, delivers useful functionality every mont, and
helps everyone enjoy working. Yet, everyone wants to tinker with it, to
improve it, to increase his accuracy, to make it more amenable to his or her
I use to help people modify Scrum to make it more compatible with their
perceptions. Lately, I've come to realize that this is a mistake. For
sustained improvements with Scrum, to stop yourself from making changes that
undercut the core of Scrum, you have to understand Scrum at the deepest,
theoretical level. And this is very hard. But only then will you understand
why these improvements will destroy the very success you desire. How did
this paradox come to be?
Read more at: http://www.controlchaos.com/scrumhard.pdf