I have a prediction. If you take the Nokia “Scrum Test” you are going to score somewhere less than 7. That means you aren’t doing Scrum, you’re doing “ScrumButt:”
A ScrumButt is a sort of like Scrum implementation… but some changes that were too painful have been left out… Companies in this category tend to only experience moderate success with Scrum, i.e revenues up 0-35%. This is very different from the design goals Jeff Sutherland had for Scrum, i.e. to create hyper productive teams and hyper-profitable companies.
In 2005 Bas Vodde, agile pioneer and coach within Nokia Networks, created the original test. In 2008, Scrum co-creator Jeff Sutherland extended the test by introducing new questions and a scoring model. Today, Jeff works with openview venture partners to help investors make money by only investing in companies with state of the art software development capabilities.
The test itself is incredibly informative — and the results usually much more so. Merely answering the questions posed in the Nokia Test will reveal some obvious shortfalls in most Scrum implementations. But take care to answer honestly and objectively. It’s not a bad idea to make the exercise a team activity, reaching serious consensus on the answer to each question.
According to an informal poll conducted by Cranky PM, Agile methods (Scrum in particular) has been penetrating deeply into the enterprise. Specifically, in 2006, you reported that a sizable majority of product development used a waterfall methodology (55%), with Scrum garnering a mere 7%. In 2008, the picture is very different. Scrum and its Agile cousins account for nearly 60%, where waterfall has dropped to a mere 28%. While it’s a small statistical sample, the figures are encouraging.
Recently I tried out a variant on methodology that I’ll dub Rational Scrum. I’ve been trying to put together a few thoughts about the overall process for months, and finally found some time for it.
Just as people have specializations, so do processes. Applying one process to all situations is just as wrong as calling your dentist when you need brain surgery.
Rational itself is an excellent methodology and scales very well. Starting with only a few Rational artifacts, it can almost feel like Extreme Programming. Yet, the Rational body of work provides a framework that supports a much more comprehensive methodology… something less than full-on Spiral development, but still robust enough to handle large-scale, distributed team development.
However, for all that I like Rational, it does have some holes… and these are plugged most wonderfully by Scrum. In fact, Rational and Scrum benefit each other so well I’ve started referring to the combination as “Rational Scrum.” As with most methodologies, it does not define every possible response to every possible situation, but the combination of these two techniques is very robust and complete.
The processes complete each other by addressing mutual weaknesses. Scrum steps in to fill a gap in organization and team management. Conversely, Rational brings a structured, risk-driven approach to Scrum that is lacking.