Scrum Won’t Work for You

Have you ever heard someone say that it all sounds great, but it won’t work for this specific organization or team?

I hear that on a weekly basis. Someone always has a reason why Scrum doesn’t work.

The problem with this is not that it’s not true by default, but that you haven’t even tried yet. This looser attitude is what prevents many companies from implementing Scrum successfully.

Let me tell you, I’m not that big on “limiting beliefs” theory, but I think that it can indeed damage your progress.

Dangerous thinking

When you assume that your particular situation is so unique that Scrum framework just won’t work here, you give yourself excuses to change the rules, omit key elements, and “adapt” it to your scenario.

Here is what the Scrum Guide 2020 has to say about this:

“Each element of the framework serves a specific purpose that is essential to the overall value and results realized with Scrum. Changing the core design or ideas of Scrum, leaving out elements, or not following the rules of Scrum, covers up problems and limits the benefits of Scrum, potentially even rendering it useless.”

When you adapt Scrum to your situation, what is going to happen is that… it won’t work!

So my point is, if you say that Scrum won’t work for you, it won’t, because you are not implementing Scrum.

Don’t muddy the waters

“Scrum won’t work here” thinking creates a confusion around two very different expressions: “can’t/won’t” and “doesn’t yet“.

When organizations believe that Scrum can’t work in their case, then there is no point in trying, and the rules of Scrum must be adapted.

But if you just change the saying to “Scrum doesn’t work here yet”, it all becomes easier and actually less scary!

When you start implementing Scrum, it is not going to work. Some rules, some elements will feel out of place. For the longest time you will not see any benefits from them. And it is absolutely ok, as long as you continue to try.

This reminds me of another article I have written quite a while ago called “Scrum rules are there for a reason“.

Same as you would need to continue to follow doctor’s instructions to see results, you need to follow Scrum rules to see results. It’s going to be a long journey. Get ready!

I hope that this small rant helped you get some valuable insights, or maybe just gave you a bit more motivation to try again.

If you feel lost and alone in helping your team implement Scrum, remember that there are thousands of people around the world who face similar challenges as you. Connect with them, learn from them, invest in yourself!

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About the author

Hi, my name is Daria Bagina. Iā€™m a Professional Scrum Trainer with and a experience Agile leader. I help teams and organizations to get the most out of the Scrum and Agile implementation by sharing my personal stories and practical advice.

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