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When is Scrum a good choice

Published about 1 month ago • 1 min read

So, we’ve discussed lately what are Scrum’s tradeoffs, now it’s time to weigh them and decide whether it’s a good fit for your team or not. The guideline is misleadingly simple: if you’re faster with Scrum - go for it, if you’re slower - ditch it. But what does it mean “faster”?

Well, as Marty Cagan says, we should look beyond Time to Market - the metric when your feature gets deployed in front of your users, but rather focus on Time to Money - metric which means that you delivered something of value, that people are happy to pay for. And that’s something much harder to plan for.

I believe that strong, independent product teams don’t need Scrum. Ideally, you give them a problem to solve and they’ll dig into it with their complementary skills and produce a good solution.

However, there’s a lot of work out there done differently, just to give a few examples:

  • Sometimes reporting about work is as important as the actual work. In that case the estimations, planning sessions, and roadmaps are a blessing. They might be wrong, but at least they’re something you can hold on to. This might be caused by the need to coordinate marketing efforts (product launch communication) with engineering (launch date), or due to the nature of a relationship of the team with the rest of organisation - it might be an outside agency that needs to be managed in an easily billable and trackable way.
  • It could be that the developer team is not great and you can’t count on them to produce good solutions by themselves. They might lack communication skills, not be product-minded, or miss the technical skills to envision all the possible solutions. In that case, the organisation might be better off running it as a “feature factory”, where they get clear specs what to build. I’ve heard that phrased once as “you don’t need rockstar developers, you need rockstar requirements”.
  • Finally, you might simply need Scrum to protect the team from all the chaos going on - multiple stakeholders, high degree of change, never ending urgent requests. No team can stay productive fighting those off every day and Scrum lets you put that away for two weeks at a time.

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Have a good one,

Wojciech

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Hello, I'm Wojciech đź‘‹

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