We have read or re-read Fixing Your Scrum: Practical Solutions to Common Scrum Problems by Todd Miller and Ryan Ripley cover-to-cover, if you don’t count the index at the back of the book (and I certainly do not). As a wrap-up, I want to briefly consider three points.  

The first is how I use the book. I have a half dozen books that I keep just behind me in my office. Over the years the contents of that group of books has changed as the type of work I do has changed. As someone intimately involved in influencing teams and organizations in how to use agile, this book has found a spot as a go-to reference. The ideas Todd and Ryan lay out for addressing common Scrum anti-patterns are useful. I use the ideas both as possible starting points for helping teams and as a framework for thinking through the problem.  

The second point is that the forced decentralization of teams during Covid has forced many teams to wrestle with poor tooling. Most have adapted quite well by finding a pallet of collaborative tools to make distributed agile and Scrum work. Organizations that did not upgrade their collaborative software suite find team-level agile HARD. Even as some teams are beginning to go back to the office or adopting hybrid working scenarios, tooling is still a common problem. For example, there are teams that are still stuck trying to gut out working with rudimentary whiteboard tools. Online collaboration without an excellent whiteboard product is just video conferencing. This is one of the rare cases where the solution to a team problem might just be a tool.

Finally, Fixing You Scrum is a book about…Scrum. It is not a book about overall organizational change. All of the anti-patterns in the book can be addressed at a team level if they are not chronic problems that are a derivative of larger organizational problems. For example, organizations that require planning to 100% utilization levels will have problems with having predictable sprint outcomes let alone with keeping up a sustainable pace. In a recent conversation with a colleague, I was regaled with a story about a large organization whose answer was to the problems generated by not leaving time for things not to go perfectly (they planned people and teams to 100% capacity) was to require Scrum teams to turn in gantt charts for work done in sprints. The leaders felt that better planning rigor would solve the problem. Remember that sometimes the best help a team can get requires change higher up the ladder.

Fixing Your Scrum: Practical Solutions to Common Scrum Problems is useful addition to any agilist’s library. If you have not bought your copy — what are you waiting for? 

Next week we will start our re-read of Monotasking, Staffan Noteberg by laying out an approach.  I am contemplating combining the re-read with experience reports as I try to put the ideas in the book to use. More on that next week.

Previous Installments

Week 1: Re-read Logistics and Front Matter – https://bit.ly/3mgz9P6 

Week 2: A Brief Introduction To Scrum, and Why Scrum Goes Bad – https://bit.ly/37w4Dv9 

Week 3: Breaking Bad Scrum with a Value-Driven Approach – http://bit.ly/3stGc9Q 

Week 4: The Product Owner – https://bit.ly/3qpKvSn 

Week 5: The Product Backlog – http://bit.ly/3cAEk9c 

Week 6: The Development Team – http://bit.ly/2OLVAAs 

Week 7: Embracing The Scrum Master Role –  https://bit.ly/3m0HB5D 

Week 8: Management – https://bit.ly/31Kv39l 

Week 9:  Thinking In Sprints – https://bit.ly/321wXTg 

Week 10: Sprint Planning – https://bit.ly/3stWOhx 

Week 11: Sprint Backlog – https://bit.ly/3njezit 

Week 12 – Reclaiming The Daily Scrum – https://bit.ly/3eNzMgz 

Week 13: Deconstructing the Done Product Increment – https://bit.ly/3bedTGc 

Week 14: The Sprint Review – https://bit.ly/3huZvgP 

Week 15: The Retrospective – https://bit.ly/3bOK2Vg