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.


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…

10 Warning Signs, that your team is not self-organizing

How do you know that self-organization is working? The Bern Chapter of Scrum Breakfast Club looked into this questions, and identified the following warning signs (which I have taken the liberty of translating).

The team reports to the Scrum Master at the Daily ScrumPeople wait for instructions from the Scrum MasterTeam members don't hold each other responsible [for their commitments]The same impediment comes up twice"That's the way it is" => resignation"I" instead of "We"Flip charts are lonelyCulture of conflict-avoidanceDecisions processes are unclear, nor are they discussedPersonal goals are more important than team goals
To this list I would add my a couple of my favorites:
you don't see a triangle on the task board (not working according prioritization of stories)after the daily Scrum, people return directly to their desks (no collaboration)there are a least as many stories in progress as team members (no pairing)
P.S. You can join the …