The State of Scrum


far fewer disruptions than starting from scratch.

Granted, Scrum's status as a kind of "wrapper" doesn't guarantee that it's easily implemented. In fact, as Michael James, one of Danube's Certified Trainers, has blogged, "Scrum is hard and disruptive." One of the most valuable aspects of the framework is its ability to surface dysfunctionality in the organization. When organizations alter the framework, they are not only compromising Scrum's principles, they are also ensuring that those dysfunctionalities remain unseen and unaddressed. So while Scrum does not demand that an organization use particular engineering practices, what rules it does have are neither optional nor redundant. To reap the rewards of Scrum, teams must actually adhere to the paradigm's rules.

Lastly, much of Scrum's popularity with organizations becoming agile can be attributed to how rigorously its principles and processes are preserved. Because the Scrum framework is so lightweight, it requires that none of its constituent parts be thrown out or ignored. For example, if you omitted a meeting or a role from the framework, at least one of Scrum's core tenets would be compromised. This means that it's essential to success with Scrum that all of Scrum's rules remain firmly in place.

One way that the integrity of the Scrum process is protected is through the work of the Scrum Alliance , a nonprofit organization that provides information and resources for Scrum practitioners. Founded by Scrum co-founder Ken Schwaber, the Scrum Alliance has introduced a regulated certification process for professionals seeking training as a ScrumMaster or Product Owner. Through its regulatory efforts, Scrum has retained a concrete definition with clearly defined practices. Unlike the gray area of the umbrella term "agile," Scrum's vocabulary, processes, and values are not interpreted differently by every organization that uses Scrum. The Alliance has ensured Scrum has a universal meaning and that there are essentially no differences between a Scrum team in Oulu, Finland and one in the Silicon Valley. Moreover, the Alliance has created a standard for Scrum experience through its certification process for ScrumMasters, Product Owners, Trainers, and Coaches, which requires that individuals work in a Scrum environment for a particular amount of time prior to receiving certification. These certifications function as a gold standard for professionalism in Scrum. Employers can trust that if a potential hire, for example, holds a "CSM" designation, that the hire has at least completed a Scrum Alliance-approved Certified ScrumMaster course and will possess the attendant experience.

Today, Scrum stands as the most popular agile management method. Its emphasis on communication and collaboration improves teams' performances and yields products that customers really want. Through the support of the Scrum Alliance, the integrity of Scrum's principles and processes is protected from the diluting forces of organizations that would prefer a pick-and-mix solution. With its balance of supportive structure and flexible freedom, Scrum appeals to managers and developers alike. After all, good work is a result that no one can argue with.

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