Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blue pill and Red pill

In a class in Romania, a participant asked me: "don't you think you are setting false expectations? Scrum may help but it will not help that much. This sets false expectations and disappoints people."

Good comments. Good concerns. But I don't agree that we are setting false expectations, although I think these issues must be addressed.

As background, I said that we want each team to increase their productivity by 5 to 10 times. And we want that by working normal, sustainable pace. And with everyone (as far as possible) having more fun. And we want to double productivity in 6-12 months.

Now, this assumes that we get aggressive about removing impediments. Creative in identifying them. That we make a good business case for many of them. That we act rigorously and professionally. And that the managers and the firm permit us to fix things, if we make a reasonable business case.

I admit these the managers often don't let us fix enough impediments.  Sometimes almost none.  But usually the biggest problems are elsewhere.

So, if someone has managers who won't let us fix impediments readily (and yes this situation exists in the real world some), I still expect them to try to fix things. Yes, it will be harder, and maybe it will be hard to double productivity.

And I think a lot of 'bad' managers are just decent people and they just need someone smart like you to help them see the light.

As another partial answer to his question...

It helps to tell the truth even when it is hard. And I think adults should not lose heart even when things aren't good and the path forward is unclear. In other words, adults should not get discouraged.

Scrum does not believe in taking the Blue pill.

For those who have not seen the Matrix movie in a while, let me remind you. The Red pill means that you can see the truth, and it is painful and hard, but you have a chance at freedom.  And a chance to fix things.  The Blue pill gives you 'happiness' as the Matrix would like you to see it, with a blue filter.  But it is false and it is not the truth you are seeing. And freedom is not possible. You give up freedom for a false 'happiness.'

So, people can and do complain that Scrum makes them see bad things. And, so far, Scrum compared to waterfall, does do that.  You do see more 'bad' things using Scrum.  Because Scrum makes them visible (not because Scrum causes them to exist).

Except that seeing the truth makes it easier to fix things.

The next thing to say is that Scrum, after everything, is still more fun than waterfall.  Well, if they play real Scrum.

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