Many of you will adore the idea of Scrum and might have had a good experience with it so far. However I think it highly depends on your working environment if Scrum can actually be of help.
When needing fixed deadlines for example.
In the company I work in we have a lot of dependencies to other people like other internal departments or clients.
Currently we’re working agile on a rebrush of one of our websites. This is great not only because we can freshen up the website for the users but also because this is gives our marketeer a story to tell to the advertising clients. They will go out and tell them book with us and be part of the new and fancy relaunch.
Booking however requires a date. A date on which the story has to be there as told. Imagine you book an image campaign for your company to go with a relaunch of a website with cool new features. You’d expect your ads to be placed on a site that is new and fresh and gets some extra attention by the users and you expect some of that extra attention to be spent on your ads. So the story has to happen.
Getting clients to book a campaign however needs some time. Marketeers need to approach different clients way in advance and get them interested in this story. So not only do you need a date but you also need to know the scope in advance.
In Scrum however things work differently.
Of course the idea exists in the first place. However you can not really get a date for it as things get estimated per sprint. There is no estimate that covers the whole thing. Usually this means that the more you advance in your project the better you can tell when you will be ready.
However if we’re talking about a project that will last less than half a year we will need to get a date right at the beginning. Acquiring clients is a tough business and takes a lot of time.
So you set a deadline yourself.
Only then you can no longer scale your project in time or scope. Not much anyway.
At the project I am working on I had to set a deadline right at the start and I had to agree on a scope to deliver that matches the story told to our clients. This is pretty much waterfall but only to be expected when working with advertising clients.
We will manage though. We will be on time and in scope yet still we will scale on the features.
The reason why we will still manage is that I as a product owner with an extensive background in development was able to roughly estimate the project as a whole and be considerably accurate. Not a thing you’re likely to have. Also the project is big enough to have a lot of smaller features that have not been told with the story and therefor can be postponed for after the deadline. And third but most important the development team is committed and engaged and therefor really good.
There are things I do like about Scrum don’t get me wrong. But it surely is no silver bullet.