Scrum: A Recipe For Success (or Disaster)

As we prepare to engage in that favorite American pastime of stuffing your face until uncomfortably full, with more calories than the an entire NFL team needs in two weeks (aka Thanksgiving), I am reminded of an important point about Scrum.

On Tuesday, at the 6th Annual Give Thanks For Scrum event in Cambridge, MA, it was announced that moving forward, the Scrum Guide would now be available to the world under the CC-BY-SA licenses. This means that commercial, derivative works may be created from the Scrum Guide as long as the author provides attribution and allows others to amend their modifications with attribution, and so on.

This is great news for all those who appreciate the Scrum Guide but have minor changes they would like to make.




What I am REALLY worried about, is Thanksgiving dinner; and more specifically, the delicious dressing (stuffing) that my wife makes.

She starts by cooking up some Italian sausage. Then, she sautés onions, mushrooms, and celery in the sausage drippings. Then she adds some boullion and diced chestnuts. Finally come the breadcrumbs. And voila, you have stuffing which is pretty much an entire meal unto itself.

However, what if she began cooking and said “I am going to make stuffing, but instead of sausage, onions, celery, and mushrooms, I am going to start with strawberries and boil these in water until they are totally soft and gooey like a jelly or compote. ” Then, she decides “I don’t want to use chestnuts and bouillon, I am going to add diced asparagus along with some anchovies.” Then, after that has been stewing a while, she pours in heavy whipping cream and tops the whole thing off with 1/2 pound of finely diced cilantro instead of breadcrumbs.

If I am feeling particularly bold and brave, I might ask (in a very sweet and innocent voice): “What’s that, honey?”  And she might reply “It’s stuffing.”

Is that stuffing?

She called it as such but it doesn’t at all resemble my definition of “stuffing”. It would have been ok if she had made the first recipe but omitted the mushrooms or chestnuts. I think it would be fine without the Italian sausage in it also… for most people.

It’s a recipe. So, some liberties can be taken with it until it gets to the point where it just no longer resembles the dish it was intended to be.


And this is where my concern turns to Scrum.

Scrum is a recipe for instilling Agile Values and Principles in organizations. By following the steps and including the appropriate ingredients, we get the results we desired. We can even make small changes in the “recipe” and still enjoy the expected result when following Scrum.

However, we need to be careful that we don’t grossly modify the recipe or we may end up with something completely unexpected and undesired.

Only after we have made stuffing a bunch of times can we fully understand what might enhance the flavor or what might be an interesting departure. We also, most importantly, discover what tastes horrible.

With the new ability to openly take liberties with Scrum granted through the CC license, we may end up with something that doesn’t resemble Scrum at all… and that may be ok.  

Let’s just make sure we don’t call that stuff “Scrum” if it’s doesn’t at all resemble Scrum in the end.


To all those in America…

Happy Thanksgiving

To EVERYONE everywhere…

Peace and Blessings