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RE: Ken's Post

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  • Mike Beedle
    Ken, A change in attitude is necessary, and without that success is not attainable, but is not sufficient for success. If the developers of a Scrum team don t
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2007



      A change in attitude is necessary, and without that success is not attainable, but is not sufficient for success.


      If the developers of a Scrum team don’t know “agile software development techniques” aka, how to write use cases or stories, how to write unit tests, how to design and write code (design/architectural patterns, use components and libraries, know OO principles), how to test, how to continuously integrate and cope with bugs, and in the “big picture: how to release software versions to production, *all the good attitude in the world is not going to be enough*.


      I think you and I had conversations about this while writing the first Scrum book….. J


      - Mike



      <Ken wrote>


      If you truly believe that the certifiable skills a student would take away from the CSM course are trivial and not what will ultimately determine the success or failure of a Scrum project, then you must certainly believe that just taking the class does not qualify a student to be an effective Scrum Master.  If so, why have you chosen to issue a formal certification to people who have only paid some money and attended this class?

      Steven Gordon

      On 24 Mar 2007 06:17:25 -0700, Ken Schwaber <ken.schwaber@ verizon.net> wrote:

      Do you remember the early arguments regarding XP? Did someone have to "get it" or would they, by practicing XP faithfully "get it." We never were sure.


      What we've found with Scrum is that there is a required "paradigm" shift. The habits of waterfall are so deeply embedded that people have trouble learning the new skills, and they are useless when employed within the old paradigm. Having people think that they are self-managing while waiting to be told what to do is not self-management. The four habits that come from waterfall (and top-down predictive management) that we've had the most trouble with are waterfall thinking, command and control, believing that you can demand something by a time and date and it will happen (our customers), and lying (we cut quality to deliver by a time and date).


      If the people don't realize they have these habits and see them as they practice Scrum, they just use Scrum as another process. We see the same thing in the American automobile industry, which has been attempting to adopt lean for twenty years with no impact. Can you imagine how ridiculous it was when, last summer, Bill Ford Jr. said, "we're going to stop just building cars and then figure out how to sell them; we're only going to build the cars our customers want." This is just in time order processing, known for over fifty years.


      A large banner at Ford change group proclaims, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast."


      When we "teach" Scrum things, they aren't heard. The habits are so deeply ingrained that the participants only hear a flow of words. So we use exercises where the participants are set up in a way similar to work… they react by habit, and we expose their actions as being contrary to the principles of Scrum. We then discuss the devastating consequences to our industry and our profession.


      This has nothing to do with skills. This is a paradigm shift. The skills can be used if the new paradigm is employed, but otherwise they quickly are discarded.


      Tell me how you test that someone has absorbed an exposure trap and exercise and is moving toward the new paradigm, or not? We can only certify that we have exposed them to these things that they can't get anywhere else. People who haven't started the shift can't teach others about this.


      Anyway, I am greatly saddened that many in the Agile community, and too many in the Scrum community, think that this is about skills. Scrum is so simple that the skills are easily absorbed. I can test them and that means nothing. Changing attitudes and outlooks is what makes the change, and that is what we are aiming for.


      When I wrote my second book, "Agile Project Management with Scrum," you may have noticed that it doesn't tell you what to do. It is very story and example based, to show people trying to use these practices and skills. It then shows what happens if the paradigm shift hasn't occurred, or what happens if it is only partial. If I were just talking about certifiable skills, the first book would have sufficed.


      I think you guys are evaluating the wrong things about Scrum and you don't know why Scrum succeeds and fails. I expect that only a small number of places that try Scrum will succeed. Change in paradigm and process and attitude is very, very hard, and I expect only those with the most compelling problems and needs to navigate the terrain. Martin Fowler used to say that he would only help someone after they had hit the wall and had no remaining illusions or hopes. We try a little earlier.


      I think that you don't know Scrum or what we teach. You've read a book or two and you think that qualifies you as a critic. Wrong. Please attend a CSM course taught by me before you make anymore judgments. Then, for better or worse, your judgments will come from more knowledge.



      With respect,



      </Ken wrote>


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