Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On IDG's article about critisism against Scrum

Here's a Swedish article from IDG about that "the critisism against Scrum is growing".

It has something of an eye-catching headline, but the article is otherwise thin. The only really valuable thing in there are the statements from Tobias Fors about having to understand Scrum before trying to adjust it. But the topic as such and the angle of the article is just rediculous. Also, I think Tobias was somewhat misquoted or misunderstand with regard to what is written in the article about retrospectives.

The author quotes Ivar Jacobsson about the teamsize and iteration length limits of Scrum being a downside, as opposed to other methods. The problem with that argumentation is that Scrum is then blamed for not allowing "large teams" or "long iterations". You have to stop and ask yourself why. Why do Scrum limit the team size and the iteration length? Obviously because statistics and years of experience in software development projects has shown that those are factors directly affecting the outcome of a project.

That Scrum doesnt suit "large systems that are based on a service oriented architecture or large organizations" as a general statement is gong too far. If Scrum works or not is in my opinion much more a matter of the organization's willingness and capability to try - not a problem with Scrum itself.

Sure, some of the advantages of Scrum are lost if you are strictly controlled by a ruleset that is waterfall-based, such as public fixed price tenders, or if you work against the FDA or similar. In those cases the problem isn't with Scrum. The problem is with the very preconditions for the projects. In that sense this Ivar Jacobsson really do has a point. But for the author to write an article under the topic "critisism against Scrum" on that is to me a sign of news drought.