„Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.“ – Misquote attributed to Mark Twain


Dear all,

 I was recently asked to keynote at two corporate Agile gatherings.

 Obviously, I feel very honored. But what new do I tell a gathering of Scrum Masters, POs, Agile Coaches, and would-be agilists?

 The Agile Manifesto is more than 20 years old. „The Agile Enterprise Big Picture,“ aka Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe, was released in 2011. The first Scrum Guide was issued two years later (sic!).

 Still, according to our observations, many of the issues that Agile supposedly addresses remain widespread in organizations. The planning fallacy still applies. Feature factories with timeline pressure, a high degree of context switching, and poorly managed dependencies almost seem to be the rule and not the exception.

 And this, while everybody tells me they practice „Scrum.“ They have a PO, sprints, backlog, standups, plannings, and regular reviews and retros. And their Scrum Master or Agile Coach ensures that the process is followed.

 I intentionally use the word „process“ here. Many Agile implementations I encounter have devolved into „Scrum process“ implementations or – worse – apply some scaling framework on top of a „Scrum process.“

 In this environment, Product Owners are – more often than not – relegated to being backlog clerks who administrate demand- or requirement backlogs.

 While this may not be entirely Scrum’s fault, its fuzzy description of the Product Owner’s role and general vagueness concerning the development of products are significant contributors to it. A growing corporate adoption of the Scaled Agile Framework with its separate Product Manager role certainly hasn’t helped.

 The Scrum certificate industry is making things worse. PO and Scrum Master certificates barely scratch the surface of what’s required to develop products successfully — consequently, the process precedes purpose and substance.

 Let’s face it. Scrum, as the immutable framework, is past its due. It’s thin on product development and bloated and resource-hungry for what it achieves. There’s a reason why none of the MAANG (Meta, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) tech leaders have embraced Scrum.

 In my Keynotes, therefore, I think I will suggest that it is time to give up Scrum andstart focusing on what contributes to true (Business-) Agility:

  • Small teams that can act autonomously – within a framework of larger organizational objectives
  • Customer and Job-to-be-Done obsession to deliver value continuously
  • Continuous learning and evidence-based decision-making
  • Open communication and collaboration to create psychological safety – back to the original Agile values!

The concrete approach will likely look different for every organization and even team. There are so many great sources to draw from, Agile 2, Modern Agile, Product Discovery, … (and, of course, Scrum).

 At the risk of repeating myself, we also need more coaches who master true agility as well as product development to make it happen. More Ri and less Shu.

 We are far from being done with Agile, but it’s time to move on from Scrum. At least as we know it today.

 I am not alone in questioning Scrum’s value. Find the musings of two very respected practitioners here:

Sorry Scrum, the Game Might Be Over for You!

David Pereira’s analysis why Scrum is a commodity in need of a restart to remain relevant.

Click to view!

Will Scrum Fall Victim to Its Own Success?

Willem-Jan Ageling contends that it’s time to let go of the barnacles of Scrum.

 Click to view!

Time to walk the dog (in the pouring rain)…

Enjoy the rest of the rainy weekend!

All the best,