Getting to the Benefit

March 18, 2009 — Posted by Jim Trott

Listen to the webinar audio Getting to the Benefits

It has been estimated that 75% of companies undertaking Scrum are not experiencing the benefits they expected. Why do you suppose this is? Why don't we take time to stop, observe, and improve our processes? Why is lean perhaps a more natural starting point for the enterprise?

These are some of the questions explored by Alan Shalloway in today's podcast.

But first, Alan invites you to come to the Lean Kanban 2009 conference in Miami May 6-8, 2009. Join David Anderson, Josh Kerievski, Peter Middleton, Alan Shalloway, and other industry thought leaders as we consider together the next wave of software management and leadership. It offers the chance to interact in a small attendee/speaker ratio.

It promises to be a powerful time. To learn more, visit the Kanban Dev Yahoo user group.

Why aren't organizations manifesting the promise of Scrum?

Ken Schwaeber says that 75% of companies who try Scrum do not manifest the problems of Scrum. This means that they do not get the benefits they thought they would. Why not?

Scrum is a lightweight methodology that exposes impediments so you can fix them. Too often, rather than fixing them, teams just accommodate the impediments. and that is a problem. Why do teams do that? They are beset by the tyranny of the urgent. By the time they have time to reflect, the next problem is there and they have to move on. They just don't have time to stop!

Why don't they stop to look? Because they are starting at the wrong end: at the team-level and then think about how to "scale up" and that is hard to do. It just leads to increasing levels of complexity. How much better it is to start with something that begins at the enterprise level

The benefit of Lean is that it offers a better starting point. People don't talk about scaling up Lean because Lean already starts at the enterprise level. That is its natural environment.

We think of Lean this way:

It is a pragmatic framework for absorbing principles and practices that other people have learned and putting them to work in large organizations.

You could see Lean as having absorbed Agile/Scrum practices into the Lean way of thinking (as well as seeing Scrum as manifesting Lean principles to the specific context of teams creating software). What matters is not where the practices came from but rather that they come into the enterprise in a way that lets them be put to work broadly: Testing it in concrete work, improving it with basic lean principles as needed, tossing it if it doesn't work.


Lean Kanban 2009 conference in Miami May 6-8, 2009

Music used in this podcast

“Pizzaman” and “Chocolate” ©2006 William Cushman:

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About the author | Jim Trott

Jim Trott is a senior consultant for Net Objectives. He has used object-oriented and pattern-based analysis techniques throughout his 20 year career in knowledge management and knowledge engineering. He is the co-author of Design Patterns Explained: A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design, Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, and the Lean-Agile Pocket Guide for Scrum Teams.


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Al Shalloway
Business, Operations, Process, Sales, Agile Design and Patterns, Personal Development, Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Cory Foy
Change Management, Innovation Games, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Guy Beaver
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Transitioning to Agile, Lean-Agile, SAFe
Israel Gat
Business and Strategy Development, DevOps, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean, Kanban, Scrum
Jim Trott
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Ken Pugh
Software Design, Design Patterns, Technical Writing, TDD, ATDD, Coaching, Mentoring, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Marc Danziger
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Scott Bain
Analysis and Design Methods, Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, Technical Writing, TDD, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile
Tom Grant
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, DevOps, Analyst, Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Innovation Games, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, Kanban