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Thursday, 17 December 2015
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Macroscope and Scrum - Part Four

Reality Checks

Not Everybody Fits the Scrum Profile

The vision of the Scrum Developer is of a flexible, highly collaborative person who is keenly interested in seeing all aspects of the product. He/she is multi-disciplinary and interested in expanding their knowledge of new disciplines.

Not everybody fits that profile. If an organization seriously wants to take the Scrum approach for all its initiatives, it has the choice of investing in extra coaching and mentoring effort to help people adjust, or getting rid of those who don’t fit the pattern.

Personally I believe there is a good place for defined roles and responsibilities – empowering generalists when possible but also aligning responsibilities with the skills and aspirations of the individual. I’m also a fan of encouraging people to grow, but at a pace they can sustain.

The Challenge of Distance

I am a huge fan of co-located teams, including businss participants. We are so much more productive and creative when we can look each other in the eye and learn to appreciate and trust each other. And it’s much faster to give input to each other. The base assumption of Scrum is that teams are physically together, but that is becoming much more difficult to achieve in today’s world. I have read of some experiences applying Scrum with virtual teams, but from my experience one has to invest a lot of extra effort in communication in that setting. PM techniques from beyond the world of Scrum are needed.

Silver Bullet Thinking

As I said at the start, I urge huge caution against taking Scrum as a universal recipe. It can work very well in a given set of circumstances. But the reader might do a search on “Criticisms of Scrum” to find some of the limitations people have experienced, beyond my personal opinions above.

The attitudes and techniques of Scrum give us a useful set of tools. We have many other tools in our box. Let’s continue to use the most important tool of all – the one between our ears. So let’s always look for the best things for the job, and always be looking for ways to improve.


I’ve focused on only certain elements of Scrum. And I’ve also mentioned some ways in which one could use Scrum techniques together with useful elements of Macroscope that are outside the scope of Scrum. There is much more to Scrum than you see above, and there is much, much more to Macroscope.

I’d love to be challenged on anything you see here. And I’d love to read about your experiences.

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