How To Abandon Practices

November 13, 2014 — Posted by Al Shalloway

We often hear no one size fits all, but then no one explains how to abandon the practices of what they preach. While Scrum is a great team framework, not all of the Scrum practices mandates in the framework should be used all of the time. In an earlier blog, The Right Way to Do Scrum-But I talked about the need to continue achieving the purpose of the abandoned practice. In this blog I'll give specifics on abandoning three mandated Scrum practices: using sprints, having cross-functional teams, and having a product owner.

Practices are intended to fulfill purposes.  There is nothing wrong with not doing a Scrum practice if you still achieve the intention of the practice you are abandoning.  We must therefore understand the intention, or value, of the practice we are considering abandoning so that we can ensure we achieve it some other way.  The table below describes each practice mentioned, the value provided and alternative methods of getting the same value:

Scrum Practice Value Provided Alternative Method of Getting Value
Time Boxing

Cadence for:
•Input
•Output
•Demo
•Retrospection

Discipline
Small batches
Visibility In & Out
Velocity
Planning Method
Focus

Can have independent cadences
Must bring discipline to each story since they make take longer than should without it
Use small batches / stories
Use visual controls throughout workflow
Measure velocity via cadence
Plan ahead if valuable
Take a value centric approach
Cross-Functional Team Facilitates Limiting WIP
Reduces Handoffs
Improves Feedback
Short term delays in workflow
Improves Collaboration
Improves learning
Attending to flow while using as close to a true team structure can achieve these values
Product Owner Reduces unneeded features An equivalent “one-voice” is needed regardless of method

This is just the beginning but should provide some ideas of what's coming.

The interested reader should go to a follow up blog on this Addendum to How to Abandon Practices.

If you are having troubles running Scrum or the Kanban Method, maybe it's because the approach you are trying is the right one for you.  Take a look at our New Team Process page.

 

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With over 40 years of experience, Alan is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, SAFe, Scrum and agile design.



        

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