My Top Ten Worst Scrum Anti-Patterns

TL; DR: My Top Ten Worst Scrum Anti-Patterns

I recently was invited to a Scrum.org Webinar, and I picked a topic close to my heart: the worst Scrum anti-patterns. So, without further delay, here are my top ten of the meanest, baddest Scrum anti-patterns I have experienced.

My Top Ten Worst Scrum Anti-Patterns — Age-of-Product.com
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Estimates Are Useful, Just Ditch the Numbers

TL; DR: Estimates Are Useful, Just Ditch the Numbers

Many people dislike estimating work items as estimates supposedly open the path to the misuse of velocity by the managers, reintroducing Taylorism, micro-management, and excessive reporting through the backdoor. To them, for example, the proponents of #noestimates, estimates conflict with basic ideas of agile product development such as self-management, becoming outcome-focused, or leaving the feature factory for good.

I like to suggest a different, less ideological approach: estimates are useful at the team level, just ditch the numbers. How so? Estimation of work items is a fast way for a Scrum team to figure out whether all team members are on the same page regarding the why, the what, and the how of the upcoming work. The numbers are a mere side-effect, probably still valid to inform the team, though. (Indeed, the numbers are not intended to be used beyond the team level.)

Estimates Are Useful, Just Ditch the Numbers — Scrum Master Survival Guide — Age-of-Product.com

By the way, similar to the fact that you cannot “not communicate,” I am convinced that people will always “estimate,” whether they talk about it or not.

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Adapt How You Lead for Agile Success — Johanna Rothman at the Agile Camp Berlin 2021

TL; DR: Adapt How You Lead for Agile Success w/ Johanna Rothman — ACB21

Too many people say, “With agile, we don’t need no stinkin’ managers.” However, because managers create and refine the culture, modern managers create and refine the agile culture. Without modern management, any agile initiative will die. It’s time to invite managers to change their behaviors and create a real agile culture. Learn from Johann Rothman how to adapt your leadership style for agile success as a manager in an agile organization in this 54-minute long video from the Agile Camp Berlin 2021.

Modern Management: Adapt How You Lead for Agile Success — Johann Rothman at the Agile Camp Berlin 2021
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UnSMART Improvements at Retrospectives — Making Your Scrum Work #18

TL; DR: Unsmart Improvements

There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. One area that typically flies under the radar is improvements. While the Scrum Guide encourages addressing the most impactful ones as soon as possible, it is up to the Scrum team to figure out how to improve. One manifestation of this core team task we often encounter is picking unsmart improvements, though.

Join me and delve into the consequences of picking unsmart improvements as a Scrum Team in less than 90 seconds.

Unsmart Improvements — Making Your Scrum Work #18 — Age-of-Product.com
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Skipping Retrospectives? — Making Your Scrum Work #17

TL; DR: Skipping Retrospectives?

There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. One area where Scrum’s nature of being intentionally incomplete causes issues regularly is whether Scrum teams shall stick to the event schedule even if the team’s life is uneventful? For example, is skipping Retrospectives okay?

Join me and delve into the consequences of skipping Retrospectives in less than 90 seconds.

Skipping Retrospectives — Making Your Scrum Work #17 – Age-of-Product.com
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Abandoning Scrum: Can a Scrum Team Decide to Quit Scrum?

TL; DR: Abandoning Scrum

Can a Scrum team simply decide to abandon Scrum? After all, the Scrum team is self-managing, according to the Scrum manual, also known as the Scrum Guide. So, let’s explore this question at the very heart of team autonomy.

Abandoning Scrum: Can a Scrum Team Decide to Quit Scrum? Age-of-Product.com
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