Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Confessions of Scrumbut

I'm somewhat ashamed to confess we've got a bit of a Scrumbut going on. You know, where you're following Scrum BUT where you're not. Strictly speaking, this is not permitted under the "rules." You're either Scrum or you're not. Scrumfall. Wagile. Scruterfall. There's no end to the portmanteaux one might create.

The biggest indicator of our wagileness is the traditional integration testing phase we're about to enter (in one measly week). In a true agile environment, every iteration thus far would have produced code that was fully tested and ready for release. In "true agile" you wouldn't dedicate eight weeks to testing at the end. This is definitely true, but early on it became apparent to me for a host of reasons that we would need this phase -- to overcome testing shortcomings in early sprints, to meet stakeholder needs, to assuage the financial auditors, to accommodate the non-agile schedules of our partners, etc.

I must admit that it gives me some comfort to see a huge diagram of the end-to-end information flow for this upcoming go-live, clearly articulated, color-coded, with external dependencies neatly flagged, and soon to be simulated from soup to nuts in four "iterations" until we're sure every step works as desired. This is our initial launch, after all, and every future success hinges on enjoying a quiet stabilization period that permits the development teams to direct their attention toward the next chunk of functionality in the backlog.

And so the teams keep standing up, and tracking testing stories in their backlogs, whether permitted or not, and focusing on the only success factor that really matters over the next few weeks: flipping that proverbial switch on November 24th... 11 weeks from today!


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