Scrum is like riding a bike with training wheels.

Over the years I've grown to dislike Scrum, mostly because I've seen it abused and misunderstood. And an approach that makes it easy to screw up is not a good approach in my opinion.

And before you put me in the Scrum-haters bucket let me be clear: I think Scrum is a great way to boot-strap a team that wants to be agile. But I do not believe it is the best method out there to get there. All approaches considered without any constraints.

The reason is that Scrum lets you focus on the practice of Scrum without having to think too much about why Scrum tells you to do certain things. This is awesome if you want to get from the dark ages of waterfall into the wonderland of agile, but if you don't get the fact that you need to learn and evolve, then you haven't achieved much I think.

It's like learning to ride a bicycle with training wheels. Every parent I know will tell you that you can have your kid ride around with training wheels for months (or years) without any real progress until you actually take the time and take those training wheels away, give your team kid proper help (coaching) and within hours they can ride the bike properly. Without training wheels.

Scrum is like riding a bike with training wheels. You wont hurt your self, you will definitely get to your destination, but it wont be pretty and it is definitely not riding a bicycle. You need to take those training wheels off and as you do so you need both the will to learn and proper help to get you there.

What triggered me to write this post was this Dark-Scrum post which is an excellent read. Because it helps you to see when those training wheels needs to come off...


  1. Nice article... IMO I think that every critics, to anything, should be follow with a suggestion, a solution proposal.
    You may have sold me that Scrum can harm you in the long run, but what should I do to solve this? What is your opinion as an alternative to it?

    1. That is a very fair point (i.e. constructive feedback is better than non-actionable criticism). I thought I provided that, but I realize after re-reading the post that it is not obvious.

      In my experience every team is different. A few team will "get it" by themselves but most teams need help and since every team is different the help needed is a coach that works with the team to "get it".

      While I have some ideas that could work, they do not apply to every team so the only advice I can give that always work is "get a coach for the team". I also recommend getting somebody from outside the company because they are more likely succeed IMHO than somebody from within the company. Some teams are lucky that they have a coach already in the organization that works out for them, but if you are looking for generic advice without me knowing all the details of your situation, my standard answer is "hire a coach externally".

      I'm sorry but that is the only generic advice I can give without lots of disclaimers...