Hi everyone.

I have a confession to make. I’ve fallen into a trap and I need to get out of it.

Gosh, Bob, what’s wrong? What is it you might ask?

I’ve been saying: “The Scrum Guide says...” way too frequently. It’s almost a daily mantra and I suddenly realized that I need to stop it.

Oh, my intentions are largely good.

  • First, I’m trying to influence folks towards leveraging solid Scrum basics.

  • Secondly, I’m trying to get them to consider all aspects of it when they’re contemplating the framework. Not picking and choosing whatever aspects they “like”.

  • And finally, I feel some professional responsibility to keep every organization laser-focused on the “rules” to get the most from their agile efforts. Especially since I’m a Scrum Alliance CEC and actively coaching them.

But I’m starting to realize that I’ve become dogmatic. That the answer to every question seems to be “Scrum” and to do it properly, you have to fully adhere to the Scrum Guide.

In fact, if you deviate from it in any way, wait, here it comes…

You’re NOT doing Scrum OR you’re doing a Scrum-Butt!!!

Which is, of course, really BAD!


What ticked me over the edge is this LinkedIn post by Ram Srinivason. He’s a well-respected CST that I know. And he posted this in June 2018.

Now there’s nothing wrong with it. It just struck me that the Scrum Guide quotes were almost biblical in nature.

As in – the Scrum Guide says this so it (1) must be true in all contexts, (2) you would be insane to consider any other approaches, (3) we can’t even discuss it further because the point would be moot.

Ram Srinivasan, CST Helping Scrum Masters become better Change Agents

Did you know that when multiple Dev. Teams are working on the same product, they should share the same baseline (common & minimal) Definition of "Done" (which improves as the scrum teams matures). What might be the dysfunctions that you will see if the Dev. Teams do not share the same baseline definition of Done?

"Multiple Scrum Teams often work together on the same product." - The Scrum Guide    

"Any one product or system should have a definition of "Done" that is a standard for any work done on it." - The Scrum Guide.

Is this really the agile mindset?

That we need to adhere to something blindly? That we can’t adapt it? That we can’t explore or experiment?

I know it isn’t the intent of Ken or Jeff to be overly perspective. Or Ram for that matter. They all fully understand that Scrum is inherently a framework.

But at the same time, I’ve fallen into a trap where I reference it without allowing for the “wiggle room” of a healthy agile mindset or considering agile and lean principles more fully.

And I’m sure I’m alone in this. In that, nobody else has fallen into this one-size-fits-all trap as a coach. I’m almost feeling as if I need to go back and apologize to my clients for being too inflexible when it comes to Scrum.

Wrapping Up

Phew! I feel much better now that I got that off my chest.

I hope I can reset my coaching mindset to leverage Scrum, but in a more open-minded, context-based, and non-prescriptive way.

And I hope my clients will forgive me for my narrow-mindedness and support me as I endeavor to learn and grow.

“Yes, the Scrum framework is simple, yet powerful. But inspect & adapt (Lean) thinking is where it’s at.”

- The Scrum Guide ;-) ahh, no, not really…

Stay agile my friends,