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Bertil Muth
Bertil Muth

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Scrum – the hard parts 2: sprint harder

In the first part of this series, I presented my favorite list of Scrum's hard parts and how you can work around them.

In the second part, I offer you a colorful bouquet of bad practices and workarounds as well.

Have fun!

The Product Backlog

According to the Scrum Guide, the Product Backlog is never complete and initially contains only the best-understood requirements.

Particularly in innovative projects, where neither requirements nor technology are known in advance, this can lead to great uncertainty. How do we know that we are are in time, budget and scope so that our supervisor will receive the bonus from his target agreement?

The workaround is very simple: Make sure the project initialization phase is long enough, at least several months! If you encounter resistance from agile fundamentalists, use the term Sprint 0. A marathon of enjoyable meetings with stakeholders is about to take place until the requirements are documented in detail and finalized.

Another clever idea on top of that: Write these requirements using the user story template. This gives the Product Backlog an agile touch.

And remember: as long as nothing is implemented, it is most likely that all the wishes of stakeholders can be taken into account!

The Scrum Master as Servant Leader

According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master is a Servant Leader of the Scrum Team.

If you work in a company that introduces Scrum, you should take advantage of these new servants. After all, your company has to pay them. Here are just a few examples of what Scrum Masters are used for in practice:

  • Scrum Master as a messenger: Instead of sending unpleasant messages to the Scrum Team, use the Scrum Master as a messenger. You do not believe how many conflicts can be avoided!
  • Scrum Master as a reporter: the Agile Manifesto says that software is the most important measure of progress. But not everyone wants to deal with the products produced by their own company, if you can analyze numbers and graphs instead! It takes a reporter at the team level. No one can do that better than the Scrum Master.
  • Scrum Master as project manager: Especially Scrum Masters who used to work as project managers are often more than willing to contribute their experience. To be able to control Scrum projects effectively and efficiently, think about converting the Daily Standup into a status meeting. Combine that with the possibility of assigning tasks to the developers - this is how the transition from classic project management to Scrum runs smoothly.


This article originally appeared in German in the HOOD blog

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