“Because Scrum Says So”

SheepleOften when I’m talking to people about scrum or reading scrum blogs or forums I see people say things along the lines of “We have to do this because scrum says so.”

“Because scrum says so” is a terrible reason to do anything.

Woah! Am I just throwing out the whole scrum guide as a document that doesn’t add value? No, of course not.  But the scrum guide, and scrum itself, are able to add the most value to your work if you understand the logic behind the framework and the reasoning for the things it proposes.  The scrum guide itself is written so that these reasons should be transparent.

What really annoys me the most about hearing “because scrum says so” is that it is often used to justify opinions that aren’t mentioned anywhere in the scrum guide.  That’s not to say that the things being justified aren’t correct and valuable – but if they are then you ought to be able to come up with a much stronger argument for doing it than “because scrum says so.”

Anyone who says “because scrum says so” is in danger of sounding like a fanatical religious zealot.  While I’m sure anyone reading this has a lot of respect for Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, comparing them to god is a little extreme.

Of course, it’s nice to have support of a document that is as well respected as the scrum guide when making your case for something so what should you do instead?  Try to use the scrum guide as a link to the common sense principle that supports what you’re trying to say.  Remember the pillars of scrum – transparency, inspection and adaption – these are the true goals of any scrum activities.  Think about the benefits of what you’re proposing in terms of each of these and you will easily come up with much better arguments than “because scrum says so.”

Related Books:

Exploring Scrum
The Fundamentals

Dan Rawsthorne
Doug Shimp
The Elements of Scrum

Chris Sims
Hillary Louise Johnson
Coach Agile Teams

Lyssa Adkins
The Scrum Field Guide

Mitch Lacey

Categories: General

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