Modifying Scrum – You THINK you know better…

This content is syndicated from Implementing Scrum » Blog by Mike Vizdos. To view the original post in full, click here. -- Cartoon -- May 6, 2008

Modifying Scrum is a bad idea.

Do you hear me?  Do you REALLY think modifying Scrum is a good idea?


Scrum is a simple framework.  It works.

Yet, in most places I get called into for consulting with clients around the world, this is one of the major causes of projects failing.

People try to mess with it.  Because they know better.

OK… do that… then call me to come in and tell you to go back to the basics.  I make a great living doing this — but this is FREE advice.  Hey… if you still want to bring me in, call me and I will happily deliver this message to whoever you want (heck — I can even do this over the phone for you — what’s the worst that can happen, the receiver can hang up on me — not too bad for a five second telephone call!).

There is a reason that Scrum is a simple framework.

It’s supposed to be.

Think about it.

Most organizations — from very small to the largest enterprises — hire, employ, or contract very smart and intelligent people.  These very well-meaning very smart and intelligent people then think they can improve Scrum… before even understanding what power Scrum as a framework brings to the table.

Think about it.

Your organization is probably a political quagmire.  Most are.

If you are luck enough not to be in this situation, think of one of your favorite Dilbert Cartoons and laugh — this does happen in most places.

So… you have this political bullshit going on in the organization Pokies before sharon tay’s pokies showing in tight tanktop Pokies Scrum.  As dysfunctional as it is, people have learned to thrive and succeed in this environment.  Actually the people that are dysfunctional created this dysfunctional system.  This could be you (ouch… hard to look in the mirror sometimes — trust me — I KNOW!!!).

Then you introduce Scrum.  And then an amazing thing happens.

Take a guess?

“Mike – Scrum is causing a lot of problems so we HAVE to modify it and make it better.”

“Mike – WE are different.”

OK.. on the first one… really really really look at what problems you think Scrum are causing.  I do a root cause analysis workshop with clients and usually almost ALL of the problems were there before Scrum was implemented.

Scrum exposes existing problems.

Get over it.  As a ScrumMaster, this is something you get paid to work with the Scrum Team, the Product Owner, and outside stakeholders to manage.  Put on your big kid pants and start having those tough conversations.


You are different.  And special.



Use Scrum as the basic framework.

Watch.  Observe.

Inspect and Adapt.

Sound familiar?

Now does this comic strip make sense?

Let me know your thoughts!

Or… do as the majority of organizations who try to implement Scrum and fail — go back to what you were doing before and blame Scrum.  It’s a cop-out the industry (read: meaning people like you and me) still allows to happen.  Sad… but true.

Grow a spine and try to have a tough conversation TODAY!

[By the way - the original posting for this cartoon is located at

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