Scram: A FrAgile Methodology - Meet the team

TJ Wolf

Scram: A FrAgile Methodology - Meet the team

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About The Author

I am a Product Owner and Product Manager who has worked in agile development environments and shops for the past 10 years. I've worked with Scrum mostly, but also a small amount of Kanban, DAD, XP, and SAFe.

I am a proponent of Agile and Scrum. I believe it works well with many teams. I believe the other methodologies work too under the right conditions, scenarios, and with the right team members.

Do I think it's a magic cure-all like some books and articles proclaim?

No.

You certainly don't sprinkle "the magical fairy dust of Scrum" around the office and all work gets done within 80-90% of commitments with high quality.

Do I think "we're agile" is frequently used as an excuse to cover slip-ups in research, planning, commitment, execution, or planning?

Yes.

Do I believe we are all human and trying to do our best work and most effective work in an agile framework?

Most of us, yes.

Of course, there will always be someone who tries to game or exploit the framework.

Scram: The Fragile Anti-Scrum Methodology

So what's this Scram thing about?

Many years ago my Scrum teammates and I, while taking a break, joked we should come up with our own methodology, write a book, sell certifications, go on tour, work the circuit, host $2,000 a head courses, etc.

We joked it should be called Scram because more than anything we wanted all the external factors to stop emailing, pinging us, tapping us on the shoulder, and basically scram to leave us alone so we could focus and finish our Sprint commitment and deliver quality software on time.

I don't know how to write a book. And anyone I ever asked to join me on one shows no interest.

Then I toyed with a cartoon strip, but I can't draw and I'm not sure people are interested in witty captioned stick figures.

So here goes, I'm setting out to start that dream of a humorous anti-scrum in a series of articles.

Straight Faced Disclaimer

Any resemblance to real persons, real-life events, or other real-life entities is purely coincidental. All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past or present, is purely coincidental.

The Scram Team

Let's start with our Scram Team members...

The Scramster - Pia

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Pia is our idealistic Scramster...

  • loves reading books on all things Scram
  • believes a simple conversation solves everything
  • believes conflict is good, especially when she's not present
  • shepherds the team, and when that doesn't work, she tells the Product Groaner to do it
  • goes with whatever the most senior or loudest Deconstructor or Re-Engineer says

Product Mis-Manager - Cookie

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Adeolu Eletu/Unsplash

Cookie is our raw and clueless PMM...

  • talked and bluffed his way through the interview using the past experiences of others
  • great at sales, poor at delivery
  • leans on the Product Groaner
  • hides in his office
  • forwards all Product-related emails or escalations to the team

Product Groaner - Tim

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Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Tim is our experienced Product Groaner...

  • has Post Traumatic Scram Delivery Disorder from years of blown commitments
  • logs stories with less detail than most fortune cookie papers
  • thinks the Scram-ster should do more than schedule meetings and send emails
  • rubber stamps work for release without checking or knowing how to demo it
  • thinks no one pays attention during Scram ceremonies

Deconstructors - Kang & Chester

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Studio Republic/Unsplash

Kang is our Level 2 Software Deconstructor...

  • pays no attention during Scram ceremonies, daydreams, or plays games on his phone
  • thinks everyone else is stupid
  • hates estimation and makes up estimates out of thin air
  • has 2 years worth of coffee cups and soda cans on his desk, has worked here less than 1 year
  • ignores story criteria he doesn't understand
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Slim Emcee/Unsplash

Chester is another Level 2 Software Deconstructor...

  • actually pays attention during Scram ceremonies but is known to remind everyone he is on PTO for 2 weeks after agreeing to a commitment
  • lacks basic office etiquette and frequently farts loudly in the open office space
  • will block a story and go idle if a validation error message is not specified for him to copy and paste
  • creatively codes criteria he doesn't understand
  • moves fastest when leftover catering food is put out in the kitchen

Re-Engineers - Scooty & Chrissy

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Studio Republic/Unsplash

Scooty is our Level 3 Re-Engineer...

  • plays computer games or ping pong while "working" Monday to Thursday, then scrambles all day Friday to check-in code by 5 PM for Defect Assurance to test
  • thinks unit and automation testing is a waste of his time
  • his motto is "blame the Product Groaner"
  • argues with his wife loudly and frequently while taking calls in the open office space
  • believes himself management and mentor material
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Anete Lūsiņa/Unsplash

Chrissy is another Level 3 Re-Engineer...

  • thinks the VP of Engineering should event a Level 4 just for her
  • feels she works too hard, so sets calendar reminders every 15 minutes to take a break, but usually texts for 14 minutes in between breaks
  • does not believe in work schedules and shows up a different time each day, misses or causes reschedules of 50% of Scram ceremonies
  • believes she is a coder only, not a defect or bug fixer, believes others should fix bugs she created
  • thinks estimation and delivery dates are a conspiracy and a violation of her rights as an employee

Defect Assurance - Eli & Ima

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Eli is a Level 1 Defect Assurance Analyst

  • recently graduated and new to the workplace
  • asks no questions prior to commitment and estimation, but blocks almost everything ready for testing due to questions
  • relies on Re-Engineers and De-Constructors to tell him what to test
  • repeatedly tells others "I don't understand any of this", tells his manager "I understand everything and things are going great"
  • wants to do automation tests, but is afraid to ask how
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JESHOOTS.COM/Unsplash

Ima is a Level 3 Defect Assurance Analyst

  • 10 years experience, still doesn't fully understand the product
  • loves to find nitpicky edge cases to prove she is doing her job
  • writes automation tests that indicate she does not know what customers do with the product
  • despises having to be a mentor to a new hire
  • blurts out "I don't know why we are doing this" at most ceremonies

Next Week: Scram Ceremonies

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.

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My primary mission is to spread awareness about the disease Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and many of its comorbidities. Given most physical activities cause me pain nowadays, I've taken on writing as a new hobby, form of therapy, and method to interact with others. You will find I also experiment with articles related to business and careers.

Atlanta, GA
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