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5 August

Why everybody hates scrum and how to replace it?

Zadarma corporate blogCRM systemsAgile
It feels like Scrum has been around forever and everybody knows what it is and has interacted with it in one way or another.

Indeed, there were times when everything around scrum was innovative, valuable and efficient: from planning to sprints and so on.

However, recently the number of negative reviews has been escalating.



From the personal experience, I could see that the last days of sprints are fully dedicated to finishing up last weeks’ sprints – everything to avoid extending tasks for the future. In most cases, this leads only to unnecessary risks.

Why can’t some tasks wait for another week? Do they actually have to be completed before the weekend? Thinking about it, the answer is a definite “no”, but scrum has been teaching us that moving deadlines is bad.

Coming up with a deadline became a pain of its own sort. Estimating how much effort it will take, how many bugs the team might run into and how hard it will be to fix them, will everyone be 100% present or in training, on holidays, medical leave, are there any national holidays or company parties coming up? Most of these are close to impossible to predict accurately.

It seems that scrum is paying too much attention to the work process and not the quality. It frequently uses the ratio of completed tasks to undertaken tasks as the main criterion of developer’s productivity. Having to go back and fix something, or adjust a solution, significantly alters the schedule.

We have realized that scrum does not really care about the end result and limits our potential. It is never ideal to have deadline-oriented developers, instead of goal-driven ones.

Scrum has become a synonym for “agile” long time ago, but now it’s anything but.
Looking for a new truly agile solution was not an easy task, but we ended up choosing Kanban.

Kanban probably doesn’t need an introduction either. Most of us have heard the Toyota manufacturing story about three cards multiple times. But when it was adapted to facilitate other processes (including development), Kanban got another life as one of the top agile frameworks.

Scrum vs Kanban

After reading the paragraphs above, you can safely assume we went for a system not based on deadlines.

There are other differences though and we will cover them briefly.
They are all based around metrics these two frameworks use.

Scrum uses velocity as its main default metric for planning and process improvement and uses Burndown Chart to showcase the process during a specific sprint.

Both metrics are supposed to facilitate productivity, but in our experience, they are highly demotivating.

On the other hand, Kanban offers a variety of metrics that can be used depending on your business processes.

Most importantly (for us), there is no required timeboxed iteration and it can even be event driven.
Actually, there are almost no required points, everything is optional: teams can be specialized, new items can be added to an ongoing project, prioritization is optional and so on.


Above image content sourced from Henrik Kniberg's article on infoq.com

Kanban is truly agile and gives developers flexibility that is so often needed.

Of course, such number of optional features has its own downside — your business will need to take some time to figure out which of the metrics, aspects and principals are suitable for you and your company culture.

Even though timeboxes still bring us nightmares, we haven’t completely moved away from estimating timeframes for our projects. Without an added pressure of a ticking bomb-sprint they provide a sense of direction and give our developers a sense of their future engagements.

Having semi-regular meetings can also be beneficial. Here it is important to find a balance: not having too many meetings that only distract from work, but having enough of them that they move the project forward.

Kanban definitely gives more freedom, but you and your employees have to keep in mind that with freedom comes the responsibility. Or choose a software where you can keep a close eye on them.

Most organizations don’t need a sophisticated framework to keep track of all the processes. Zadarma offers Kanban inside its free CRM system – ZCRM. It comes in handy if you need to try this agile framework pain-free.
Tags:ScrumKanbanagileagile framework
Hubs: Zadarma corporate blog CRM systems Agile
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