Skip to main content

Rational Scrum?

A query just came up on the scrumdevelopment list:
My work is a RUP based shop. My team has been doing agile development and lately our PMO office has asked if I was interested in publishing a white paper for the company on the two. I have a decent amount of info and experience but was wondering if anyone has written something similiar or could point me toward something that has already been published?
Googling for "rational scrum" produces some interesting results. Jeff Sutherland explains why there is no rational software process. IBM explains how to embrace Scrum in RUP. And Zacharias Beckman wrote a field report about getting a project under control using a fusion of RUP and Scrum.

Beckman writes, "Rational itself is an excellent methodology and scales very well.... However, for all that I like Rational, it does have some holes… and these are plugged most wonderfully by Scrum. In fact, Rational and Scrum benefit each other so well I’ve started referring to the combination as 'Rational Scrum.'”

He goes on to list 10 positive characteristics of his combined methodology. As I interpret his text, the main contributions of Rational are its focus on "risk [which] keeps the team focused on the most difficult, potentially risky aspects of the project first," and "quality [which] becomes integral and continuous."

2 Points out of 10. I'm overwhelmed. (I'm also fair, someone coming from a Rational background might argue that some points of Scrum, such as iterations, are also found in Rational).

I don't agree that risk and quality are insufficiently addressed with Scrum. Managing risk is the job of the Product Owner and the works of Mike Cohn and the Poppendiecks describe excellent strategies for managing risk. And quality is always defined through the definition of done (and possibly additional requirements as well), so it is assured and inspected at every sprint.

And Beckmans article confirmed my own modest contribution to the literature on the difference between RUP and Scrum: "Ownership and accountability become the mainstay as everyone develops a long-term interest in the project"

People deliver projects, and Scrum is first and foremost about people.

So how should you move forward? Adopt Scrum. Understand (and internalize) the principles and values behind Scrum. Herein lies the major difference between the two. But don't throw the baby out with bath. So start with a Retrospective and be sure to identify what you are doing well. Keep those practices which work for you. And then experience how, using Scrum, you take you company to the next level.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…

Sample Definition of Done

Why does Scrum have a Definition of Done? Simple, everyone involved in the project needs to know and understand what Done means. Furthermore, Done should be really done, as in, 'there is nothing stopping us from earning value with this function, except maybe the go-ahead from the Product Owner. Consider the alternative:
Project Manager: Is this function done?
Developer: Yes
Project Manager: So we can ship it?
Developer: Well, No. It needs to be tested, and I need to write some documentation, but the code works, really. I tested it... (pause) ...on my machine. What's wrong with this exchange? To the developer and to the project manager, "done" means something rather different. To the developer in this case, done means: "I don't have to work on this piece of code any more (unless the tester tells me something is wrong)." The project leader is looking for a statement that the code is ready to ship.

At its most basic level, a definition of Done creates a sh…

Five Simple Questions To Determine If You Have the Agile Mindset

My company has started a top-down transition to Scrum and Kanban. Will that make us an Agile company? About 2 years ago, I attended a conference hosted by the Swiss Association for Quality on the topic of Agility. As a warm-up exercise, the participants were given the 4 values of the Agile Manifesto, then asked to arrange themselves in space. How Agile is your company? How Agile do you think it should be? Very Agile on left, very traditional on the right. There was a cluster of people standing well to the right of center. “Why are you standing on the right?” It turns out that they were all from the railway. “Our job is to run the trains on time.” They were uncertain whether this agility thing was really aligned with their purpose.
Is Agility limited to software? Steve Denning has collected the evidence and laid out the case that Agile is not limited to software, nor is it merely a process, nor is it something you can do with part of your time, nor is it something you can have your …