I had been considering creating another Downfall parody video for a sometime, but I finally got around to it after Mike Cohn asked me if I was doing another video whilst attending one of his courses just recently. So I thought I was use it to raise issues in product development.
I guess this video was inspired by the approaches I see in product development where organisations tend to use Scrum as nothing more than iterative development whilst not really embracing the true values of Scrum.
Too many projects start as waterfall and then end in waterfall. By this I mean that management want all the scope fleshed out with enough detail in order to estimate with precision when the “project” will be complete (with a specific date provided).
Projects are planned with delivering gold plated solutions in one big release. Sound familiar to you? There is little realisation that new work will be discovered during the development, and that the backlog will grow. This is all too often referred to as “scope creep”, and the members of the project are then blamed for not hitting the date on time. That might sound like I think scope creep is a bad thing, which don’t, I think change is a good thing. It represents the course adjustments we make sprint on sprint to ensure we are delivering a usable product. But changes should be presented as backlog items and prioritised, and if dates change because of this then they need to be clearly communicated.
But because of the way people still hang on to waterfall project management we have extended periods of time story work-shopping, product refining, spiking and estimating, and then estimating some more. All of this to help management feel like the developers have a good handle on the effort needed to meet a fixed date that the development team has probably not even bought in to. And at the end of the day, it’s a false impression of confidence anyway.
So I wanted to deliver a message that getting value to market at the earliest opportunity is what allows Agile development teams give the business the quickest return on what can be an expensive investment.
Release early and frequently, get feedback from the users of the product and remove unnecessary delay costs.