Posts Tagged ‘Organizational Patterns’

9th July
2010
written by Therese

I no longer believe in doing Scrum by the book!

This will be considered a provocative statement for some but let me just explain myself: I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t follow a well-defined, tried and tested process, but I AM suggesting that we adapt the process to our current needs and maybe as far as you couldn’t call it Scrum anymore.

Now some seasoned agile people will say “DUH, of course you have to inspect and adapt. That is what agile is all about”, but I have also heard a lot of people saying, that “of course that project failed – they didn’t do Scrum properly” (whatever that means).

The Organizational Patterns book

In my opinion what matters is that you reflect on you proces and continuously improve (Kaizen) – if you do that you can start out with Scrum and adapt into something that is a better fit for your organization. It is much easier to fit the process to the organization than to fit the organization to the process.

At JAOO last year I attended a tutorial called “Scrum tuning using Organizational Patterns” (by Jim Coplien and Gertrud Bjørnvig) based on the book Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development by Jim Coplien and Neil Harrison. It transitioned me into what I jokingly call my post-Scrum phase – a phase where I can see agile as a collection of good ideas to choose from; a toolbox. The organizational patterns book adds to that toolbox and provide ways to guide the adapt part of inspect and adapt.

Now I have the feeling that I know more about why Scrum is precisely that collection of good ideas (organizational patterns) and what kind of problems Scrum is aiming to handle and that feeling gives me the confidence to reflect on the Scrum method and adapt to the concrete needs of the projects I’m involved in.

As Jeff Sutherland writes about Jim Coplien and the Organizational Patterns-book:

Jim was surprised when he found that Scrum compresses at least 33 patterns from his book into a concept that can be explained in 2 minutes. It takes over 60 pages of rather dense text to describe these patterns.

The connection between Scrum and Organizational Patterns can be seen in this overview that I stole from the slides by Jim and Gertrud:

Click for larger image

I recently found a link about the Top 10 Organizational patterns – As far as I can tell they are presented as in the book, but the links to other patterns are dead links (and remember; content is more important than form in this case).

Organizational patterns have really helped me move beyond Scrum and to value some of the more social aspects of software development higher. If you are having problems with your process consider looking into this concept. I know that patterns are sooo 90’ties, but they are still a reasonably way to transfer knowledge.

And I should probably revise my first statement – I no longer believe in doing Scrum by the book, but I do believe that a book can inspire me to fine-tune Scrum maybe transforming our process into something completely different – if that is what we need.