I used to think the only reason why Scrum is so popular today is coz of their “over-the-counter” certification programs. After thinking about it, I started to question myself, why others cannot see that the whole certification thing is so flawed? My best guess was, if I can see, I’m sure a lot of other people can also see through it. Then why is it so popular?
I talked to close to 50 companies that claim they are practicing Agile (read as Scrum). I tried to understand what was the driving factor for them to choose scrum. Some obvious points came across:
- Its easy to get Management buy-in coz Scrum is big on Project Management aspect
- Scrum is very simple, so we can start doing it without a huge change to our existing organization structure and culture
- Its easy to find training (certification programs)
Most people said it was a good starting point. After doing Scrum for a while, we realized Scrum alone will not help much, we need some XP practices for sure.
The I asked them, why did they not choose to start with XP? What was the biggest concern?
Surprisingly most people said that, we have heard that in XP you don’t need Managers. Most people who do XP, claim that middle-management becomes a big road-block for them. In most organization they cannot get rid of middle-management nor can they find something more interesting/valuable for them to do. So XP becomes a big No No for them. But with Scrum, what lots of organizations do is, they send their managers to Certified Scrum Master classes and make them Scrum Master. Some become Scrum Masters on teams, some become Scrum Masters for their Scrum of Scrums. This way they get middle-management on board.
So looks like Scrum has found a way to address the role of middle-management. Hence fill the gap. I’m not too sure if I agree with this, but its a fact of what I see out there happening.
Disclaimer: Personally I don’t care what people do, XP, Scrum, Crystal, DSDM, RUP, Spiral, V&V, etc. As far as it really helps them and constantly improves them its great. But if they are just doing/following some process for the sake of the label, it really bother me.