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Calling Scrum a Management Framework is misleading

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  • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSM PSM I
    (Decided to start a new thread since this is so off the original topic) Kathleen, Like I said, Paul is not the first person to say that, and probably won t be
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2011
      (Decided to start a new thread since this is so off the original topic)


      Like I said, Paul is not the first person to say that, and probably won't be the last.  Even Ken said it in his earlier book, _Agile Project Management with Scrum_(2004) .  However, in recent years, Ken has moved away from that view.

      Just because Scrum has more "project management" activities than XP does, does not make Scrum a "Project Management framework".  Believe me, I used to think along similar lines, but I've moved on now as Ken has also moved on himself.

      For instance, in the book I cited above, he says:
      "Scrum is a very simple process for managing complex projects."
      But now, in 2011, in the Scrum Guide, he says:
      "Scrum is not a process or a technique for building products; rather, it is a framework within  which you can employ various processes and
      techniques. The role of Scrum is to surface the relative efficacy of your development practices so that you can improve upon them  while providing a framework within which complex products can be developed..."

      Note how he has moved away from saying "process", and has moved away from talking about project management or even management(he does refer to managers, and members of management, but not Scrum as a management framework) in the Scrum Guide.  That's why I said what I said about that person not knowing much about Scrum.  If someone reads just the 20 page Scrum Guide, they will notice PM activities, but they will also notice a lot more that is not "management" or PM related.  As such, calling it a management framework is shortchanging Scrum by quite a bit.

      You can define "manage" pretty broadly, but calling it a PM framework in the context of software project management is a distortion.  If Scrum is a management framework, then so is every software process/framework ever put forth.  As is a process for brushing your teeth -- it's a management framework for keeping your teeth clean.  Most of the people I know who have this "Scrum as PM" view are usually people who have a strong background in PM, so they have a financial interest in saying that "Scrum is just another PM framework."  That includes the PMI, btw. 

      I should also mention that some PM's make excellent ScrumMasters, and some make horrible ScrumMasters.  IME, it depends on their Scrum knowledge, which is highly affected by who has coached them (or whether they have been coached or not).  By comparison, IME, success as a ScrumMaster for people who have a background as a software team lead is affected by other things more than by who they have been coached by.  I'm not saying that PM's or team leads make better ScrumMasters.  I'm not saying that PM's need coaching and team leads don't.  I guess what I'm saying is that PM's need coaching more because they're more likely to focus only on the PM activities in Scrum, ignoring many of the other more important aspects of Scrum.  This is why I so strongly object to the "Scrum is a PM framework" mentality.

      The PM's I have coached get the PM planning/scheduling activities down usually pretty quickly, but then I spend about the 80% of the rest of my time coaching them on things like fostering team self organization, transparency, facilitating impediment removal (i.e. delegating the removal to the team when appropriate for self organization), the definition of done, getting the most out of retrospectives and reviews, how to streamline Scrum ceremonies, tailoring Scrum to the organization, coaching the team on what they can/cannot change wrt the framework, coaching the Product Owner and stakeholders on Scrum, noticing Scrum bad smells, being a servant leader, etc

      Charles Bradley, CSM, PSM I
      Experienced Scrum Coach
      My blog: http://scrumcrazy.wordpress.com/

      From: "Mayfield, Kathleen M." <kmayfield@...>
      To: "scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com" <scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, June 27, 2011 6:25 AM
      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Technical Tasks in the Product Backlog

      Hi Charles,
      When I was doing research for my dissertation I saw multiple references to Scrum as an agile management framework – in both open source documents and peer reviewed journals.  Based on my PhD research and personal experience as a PMP and CSM, I tend to agree with that. 
      Scrum is focused more on management of the project to ensure that it gets completed successfully, whereas XP is focused more on product development.  They are complimentary practices.

      Charles Bradley, CSM, PSM I
      Experienced Scrum Coach
      My blog: http://scrumcrazy.wordpress.com/
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