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When should you NOT use Scrum?

by Joe Little, 22 August 2013 | The Agile Blogosphere

This post is from LeanAgileTraining by Joe Little. Click here to see the original post in full.

I was asked this question in a class recently.  (When should I not use Scrum?)  I gave an answer, but I want to give a better answer.

To be fair, it is a hard question. And a hard question for me.

My personal answer, which I gave, is that I only have been doing projects for 20+ years in lots of environments. I cannot think of a single project (product, effort) that I would not want to use lean-agile-scrum on (ie, use Scrum as the core).

Did I make projects work with waterfall, and have some success? Sure.  And I feel sure that we could have had much more success with Scrum.


Are there other types of work than what I have done?  Of course!

So, when would I not want to do Scrum?

I gave two examples.

1. If two people on the 7 person Team say “I hate Scrum”, then I probably would not do Scrum with that Team.  Almost surely they will make it fail.  With that Team. (I might fire myself, though, and get on another Team.)

2. If they give you an impossible project (say 18 months of work that must be done in 12 months), and if you don’t succeed they will fire you — then, I recommend waterfall.

Management won’t really know how the (waterfall) project is doing.  Just say: Green.  You will have plenty of time to work on your resume, post it on (or CareerBuilder), have some interviews, and get...

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