The Agilist Network

Tales and Tips from Agile Software Projects

When the Emperor Has No Skills

Posted by kenhoward on December 15, 2008

emperor-new-clothes-13A commenter on my previous post made reference to Scrum’s transparency of work, workers, and productivity, noting that this causes some to dislike Scrum. 

 

Back in High School I was a trumpet player in the marching band.  When football season ended each year, our large band was split up into multiple small bands with just a few players on each instrument.    Every note played (or missed) by each and every member of the smaller band was noticed.   Those who were marginal players couldn’t hide behind the other players.   This resulted in two things: 1) Many worked harder to develop the skills needed to perform acceptably, and 2) Some left the group, or moved to a “lesser” band that had more casual goals. 

 

The transparency of productivity and results in Scrum leaves no one out.  Even if today is my most productive day ever, that will be forgotten if I’m not productive tomorrow as well.   Many are invigorated by this and will thrive in this environment.   Others may try to hide by fabricating useless tasks that burn down hours, but that don’t move the project forward.    When this happens, the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and each and every member of the team should call the bluff.   C’mon, you probably know what’s going on and you just don’t want to expose it!   When a team member tries to hide a lack of skills or a deficiency in productivity, it wastes everyone’s time and can slow down the project.

 

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