Monday, November 7, 2011

Scrum Wars

It used to be that at work when a big project was getting ready to start, a conference room would be taken over and become designated as the "war room" for that project.

I never liked that terminology. It made it sound so violent and anti-project. Here was a project "team" coming together to build something supposedly to enhance people's work productivity, and it sounded more like they were gearing and arming up for battle.

The terminology trend these days is now "scrum." As in rugby. Scrum (an abbreviated form of scrummage, which is now rarely used, except as a verb), in the sports of rugby union and rugby league, is a way of restarting the game, either after an accidental infringement or (in rugby league only) when the ball has gone out of play.

If you've ever seen a rugby game, you know that a scrum is not a non-violent event. Put a group of strong, athletic men in a huddle, all eager to regain the advantage for their team, and it can result in being kicked, punched, bitten, shoved mercilessly, and generally beaten up and bloodied.

But in a technology project environment, it means this: Scrum is an incremental framework for project management often seen in agile software development, a type of software engineering.

Sounds benign enough, no. But I don't think its naming convention is an accident. Especially if you think of it as two teams playing against each other, not that everyone in the room is on the same side.

In my new job, my boss has scrum meetings. I frequently come out of those a bit worse for wear, or at least feeling I'm at a disadvantage. It doesn't feel as though we're all on the same side fighting for the ball so we can happily wend our way to the goal line. No, it feels more like being on the wrong end of the huddle against the strong, athletic men, getting a bit beaten up.

I prefer war. At least there was no punching and kicking.

No comments:

Post a Comment