Pseudo-scrum – a hybrid of waterfall and agile

April 29, 2017

Let me tell you the truth: you’re not agile. You claimed to be a scrum team, you did all the ceremonies: standup, demo and retrospective, you got all the tools: JIRA, user stories and a scrum board. But still, there is something fundamentally missing if the mindset is not right. Here is why:

1. You have a strict roadmap

In other words, you have a hard deadline for the whole year. Scrum team does estimation per sprint planning and get the measure of velocity. How can you tell if the scrum team can deliver according to the guesstimate from senior management? It is a waterfall approach if the roadmap is strict, the scope is fixed and the release plan is not based on realistic fact.

2. You don’t have a scrum master

You got one in your organisation chart but what is his job title? Likely he is not a full-time scrum master, but with the job of a project manager, producer or senior developer who is not dedicated full time to perform the role. Things start to go wrong when the scrum master is also the developer and the product owner. Even if you have a scrum master, it is very unlikely he would be able to resolve the true impediments either because the problem is too technical or beyond the level of his job title to resolve all dependencies.

3. You don’t have a product owner

It is a very important role but he is usually too busy from doing it right. Backlog needs to be prioritised, but every story is equally important when there is no vision, when the requirements come from other external senior directors and when the features developed are going to be wasted. The product owner is responsible for the decision but very few people can take the risk, while many people don’t even know what they want.

4. You don’t have a budge

A story point is not a tool for budgeting. It can no longer reflect the true velocity of the team because of you either overestimate for more money and for more buffer time, or you underestimate during negotiations for story points to lower the budget. Meanwhile, the traditional accounting approach is not adapt to agile. Money is the root of all evil to burn out the scrum team while still not getting the expected result.

Manifesto in my own words

Response to change over following a strict roadmap from senior management. Individuals and interaction over office politics. Working software over long hours of meaningless meetings. Customer negotiations over budget negotiation. That is, not easy to achieve, but I believe this is the way to transform a bureaucracy company to thrive in the digital world.

Written by Victor Leung who is a keen traveller to see every country in the world, passionate about cutting edge technologies. Follow me on Twitter