7 Signs you are Failing at Scrum

Failing Scrum

7 Signs that you are failing at Scrum

See below some key indicators that you are not implementing scrum at its highest efficiency:


1 – You Have Abandoned the Sprint Retrospective

Failing Scrum

Your scrum team are no longer performing the Sprint Retrospective. This means your team are no longer focusing on continuous improvement of have any kind of plan in place to speed up delivery time.


2 – User Stories Aren’t Finished on Time

Failing Scrum

Teams are never able to deliver user stories by the end of the Sprint, and by default are always going into the next sprint.


3 – Sprint Reviews are Self-Congratulary

Failing Scrum

Your sprint reviews are no longer conducted with the whole team or key stakeholders, in fact the meeting has now become a self-congratulatory meeting because there are no impartial outsiders attending.


4 – Spring Planning is Chaotic

Failing Scrum

When you perform sprint planning, its chaos. They are painful because teams are not engaged to get ready for the next sprint


5 – Sprint Planning is Short

Failing Scrum

Sprint plannings are shortened ‘not to waste time’, but cutting these meetings short means that the team does not fully understand the full user stories, meaning its not likely they are going to be delivered as expected.


6 – Teams are in Silos

Failing Scrum

All the teams are working in silos, with painful handovers and dependancies, meaning user stories are often waiting on other teams before they can be completed.


7 – Teams want Information Refrigerators

Failing Scrum

The teams want information refrigerators because they are more safe, rather than information radiators which increate transparency.


How to Fix It?

The list above is a small list of indicators that Scrum in your company, but there are many many more. These are unfortunately quite common, and a result of company culture that lacks vision, a spark to want to change or is uncomfortable with challenging the status quo.

Scrum can become stale, if its not done properly, micro-managed or used for the wrong reasons. If you only ever focus on what you are doing, and do not look on the outside for inspiration then your company will struggle to find that sweet spot and deliver as an Agile organisation.

If at this point, you have come to the realisation that this is the point at where you are at, then you may need to bring in some outside help. Its probably the spark you need.

By allowing employees to attend outside events, or getting in an Agile Coach is a great way to get things moving again.

The benefits of this are that an outside coach is impartial to your company, meaning they are not invested in the outcome of your company or has any bias, giving them an advantage to focus on the process. They also bring a vast amount of experience and knowledge. A coach will have worked with many different companies, tried many different techniques and worked with many different types of company. This might be the spark that is needed to get your company going, bring a new fresh way of thinking and help you to iron out those issues you have from applying scrum correctly.


Ashley-Christian Hardy
Process hacker, optimizer and team motivator. Blogging my ideas, initiatives and innovations. Certified Scrum Master/ Product Owner & Agile Project Manager

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