And they called it Scrum (iteration 2)

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I'm sitting here drinking a Big Orange and thinking about Scrum.  How much does Andy's monologue, What it Was, Was Football sound like your management or C-level?

Why did they call this lightweight process (that later became know as an Agile process framework) Scrum?  I don't know - but allow me some revisionist historical fiction, and I'll tell you.

Scrum by definition is a play in the real sport of Rugby.  I think Jeff Sutherland (roots of Scrum) may be a Rugby fan.  Being an observant guy and noticing the similarity to software development and the true game, it hit him one day in the midst of a game (it was most likely a legal hit, as there are few illegal hits in Rugby - this ain't Football).

Scrum - in Rugby:  a play that commences after a pause in play (and we ain't goin' stop for just anything - this ain't Football) where the two opposing teams discuss in an orderly fashion the true possession of the ball.  The outcome of this play is the start of a complex (perhaps chaotic) plan by the possessive team to reach their objective and score a goal.

Now why does software development even resemble this game?   Well we do sometimes pause during development.  Well not the really good teams - just the nanzy-panzy teams.  But it is the beginning teams with which we must work first.  The paws of which I speak are the daily breaks we take for the dog walking and the spouse's honey dew list, and resetting the alarm clock to 6:00 AM after the cat unplugged it again (rather that default to 12:00 - wouldn't 6:00 AM be a better default - wonder what their Story Test script has in that spreadsheet cell).

So how do we restart the team after a pause?  One technique is a stand-up meeting where we gather around in a lose circle and focus upon the first objective, who has the ball?  Then we make a plan (maybe we call an audible play) we break and execute the plan.  In the mean time we would like a referee (preferably wearing an embarrassing shirt) to be watching the group, to make sure we don't inadvertently violate some rule of the game.




What it Was, Was Football (YouTube).
Andy Griffith's famous 1953 stand-up monologue about college football. It has become one of the most beloved comedy recordings of all time. The illustrations used in this video were drawn by George Woodbridge, a Mad Magazine artist.

Listen to Andy (what Dialect is that?) mentally map Football to Scrum.

I grew up in the shadow (pulse 85 miles) of Pilot Mountain, NC.

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