The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Killing Agile (9/?)

Sadly, […] a terribly stupid catastrophe occurred. […] it is the story of that terrible stupid catastrophe and some of its consequences. 

It is also the story of a book, a book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Killing Agile, not an Agile book, never published on Agile website, and until the terrible catastrophe occurred, never seen or heard of by any Agile team members.

Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book. […]

It begins with a secret

So, you and your colleagues have just taken a two-day course about Scrum.

You found it really interesting and you are really excited to start playing with it.

After finishing the training, you go to the Area Manager and say:

— I love it! When are we going to start?

— Great! I’m glad to hear that, because we are going to start right now. Well, tomorrow…

— Wow! And who is going to serve as Scrum Master?

The Project Manager’s name is uttered.

— Why?

— Because of being the Project Manager.

Suddenly saddened, you don’t look convinced at all by such an unpersuasive explanation. Anyway, you immediately understand that they are not going to accept suggestions about that.

But you know yourself pretty well: tomorrow you are going to start acting as an advocate of doing Scrum properly. They can count on that!

You do so, day after day, obstacle after obstacle, while striving with your workmates towards a common goal.

You also steadily challenge the status quo by asking thought-provoking questions and by making powerful comments.

Work life sometimes is not easy, but you like challenges after all.

Meanwhile, the kind of unfairly self-appointed Scrum Master is just acting as a traditional Project Manager is expected to act: focusing on results and arguable performance metrics, putting people under pressure and always pretending that everything is under control, for instance.

Obviously, there is no real inspect and adapt process either: everything is still tied to rigid plans and deadlines.

Anyway, the team —which, by the way, is distributed— is enduring difficulties and trying to do their best under the circumstances.

Until one day (more than one year after starting working within this kind of Scrum framework), a very funny and embarrassing thing happens.

During a meeting, while speaking about a specific impediment, an offshore team member makes the following comment:

— Well, things would be definitely easier if we had a Scrum Master, but as we don’t have such a figure within the team…

You immediately look at the Project Manager (and alleged Scrum Master) who is blushing. No word is uttered by anybody though.

You realize they forgot (or even dismissed) to tell the workmates abroad that the Project Manager had been appointed Scrum Master too.

Now is too late, of course. And the funny thing is that the Project Manager cannot say either  I am the Scrum Master, because if this was true, they would have noticed they had a Scrum Master…

But if you think this might have been a good opportunity for the Project Manager to improve and start seriously acting as a Scrum Master, you could let yourself down.

Some weeks later, when the same workmate makes again the same type of comment, the Project Manager manages not to blush this time and promptly makes sure the conversation take a detour onto another topic.

At the same time, you restrain yourself from cackling: you secretly smile inside at the ridiculous idea of having a secret Scrum Master…

List of references

(Sadly) real working life.

Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  London: Del Rey Books,1995 (first published 1979).

Fake review from The Fake Boston Globe

Seconds before the lab is demolished to make way for a new galactic device…

… a SW tester begins a journey through Scrum framework aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Killing Agile (“A speck is about the most massively useful thing a software hitchhiker can have”) and a lab full of fellow team members…

Thanks for reading this article.
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