Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Working on a chain gang

The more I have been involved in the Scrum process the more I begin to question it.  While I think the small teams and close work is great, I question if the process is sustainable.  Also the chaos implicit to Scrum makes it difficult for QA to maintain standard checks and balances. 

I see something of the drive to turn people into machines in both of these problems, but more so the problem with sustaining a scrum team.  People are great at self organization for change, that is the base state of every ecosystem; not balance.  This makes scrum the magic bullet to many problems.  Rip down the bs and let people do, it works every time.  Maintaining this is where it falls apart.  The goal must be greater than the individual and people come together and succeed. 

In the on going work of several scrum sprints the individual begins to reassert itself.  This is where I see problems, at least for high level team members.  When you are focused on functional work you are diminishing your strategic and growth level tasks.  In throwing out process scrum also throws out career growth, beyond senior levels at least. I feel even HR must embrace Scrum and modify career path if scrum teams are to continue beyond a year and a half.

Turning to QA.  I am a quality assurance engineer so it is my focus in Scrum.  In our team we are often executing work of a similar nature, to add speed we have thrown out test cases as the work is very similar from instance to instance.  Really this is not a good thing, we are discarding solid qa practices for execution. It works again because we are cogs in a repeating machine.  When we do tackle a new project we often stumble for not having used those very tools we have discarded.  

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