The other day I was reading Ken Schwaber’s blog post on how Scrum does not “fail”. He compared doing Scrum to playing chess:
Scrum is like chess. You either play it as its rules state, or you don’t. Scrum and chess do not fail or succeed. They are either played, or not.
He went on to give an example:
For instance, some managers like their predictions of how much work will be done to be true, regardless. The teams in these organizations change the quality of a Sprint’s increment so the predictions become true. Some managers like to believe that a team or organization will only succeed through the application of their own and only their own intelligence and insights. Self-organization of teams does not occur then.
We’ve all been there: You’re trying to help your organization do Scrum. You sit down at the table with a manager to start “playing chess”. The game is going well…
You play Pawn to E4.
Manager: Pawn to E5.
Great. We’re moving along now…
Knight to F3.
Manager: “Go Fish!”
“Uh… Sorry? We’re playing chess.”
“Right. I’ve played this before. Go fish.”
“I think there’s some confusion. The best practice here is…”
“Um… Right. The thing is, we’re not playing go fish.”
“I understand. But I’ve been playing go fish since I was 5. I think it’ll work well here. I’m really good at it.”
“That’s not chess. Sir, there are certainly no cards in chess. Let alone fishes.”
What does one do in this situation? Log impediments, raise visibility, and perhaps hand your opponent an Agile Antipattern card ;-)