Last night an old friend from the Scrum Alliance told me that I’m being quoted as saying that only 30% of all teams and organizations that use Scrum will be successful.
I pondered this. I didn’t remember having said this. Perhaps this was an evolution of my having said that only 30% of all teams or organizations that use Scrum will become excellent development organizations. That fits with my memory.
Scrum is like chess. You either play it as its rules state, or you don’t. Scrum and chess do not fail or succeed. They are either played, or not. Those who play both games and keep practicing may become very good at playing the games. In the case of chess, they may become Grand Masters. In the case of Scrum, they may become outstanding development organizations, cherished by their customers, loved by their users, and feared by their competitors.
Scrum appears to have “crossed the chasm,” as Geoffrey Moore described. Scrum is now more mainstream than radical. Scrum is sometimes more a fad than a serious endeavor. When it is adopted, some of its practices are inconsistent with the culture of the team or organization. In response, the team or organization changes Scrum so it is consistent and fits in. For instance, some managers like their predictions of how much work will be done to be true, regardless. The teams in these organizations change the quality of a Sprint’s increment so the predictions become true. Some managers like to believe that a team or organization will only succeed through the application of their own and only their own intelligence and insights. Self-organization of teams does not occur then.
There are many adaptations or modifications of Scrum by organizations. I’ve called them “Scrum buts.” I ask someone if they use Scrum. They respond, “Yes, we use Scrum – but, our manager believes that we will fail if he doesn’t tell us what to do, so we are told what to do and how to do it.”
So feel safe. Scrum will not fail you.