Even though I’ve read plenty of great books centered around Agile, eXtreme Programming, etc. over the years, it’s always been difficult to view them as anything other than idealized pie-in-the-sky philosophies… something used at some magical startups or whatever, but not really anything us ‘mere mortal’ developers would ever get involved with. Even when I talk with developers at companies who publicly declare themselves as using Scrum, Agile, etc., a lot of the time the people down in the trenches mention it being a bit different…

Lately I’ve been learning a lot more about Scrum. Not so much because Scrum is inherently better than Agile… more like that’s what some projects in VSTS were already using as a template, so I figured that I had might as well make another attempt at delving into the details on it.

As much as I had expected early on to find a reason to dismiss it, there’s actually a lot in it that I love. Using the sprints to make minimum-viable products at a fairly predictable cadence sounds awesome to me and many of the features in VSTS make that very easy to do.

I was kind of surprised that the default Scrum template didn’t have a field for how long a task took (or even how long you thought it would take…) and just had a field for how much work remains. That was a bit odd. I’m a MASSIVE fan of Joel Spolsky in general, but I especially liked a post he did over a decade ago called Evidence Based Scheduling. (If you aren’t familiar with it, check it out!) While I don’t even want to consider how much time I’d need to spend on creating a similar Monte Carlo simulator for possible ship dates based on historical velocities, I do see value in tracking that information for if/when I’m ever actually able to do that sort of analysis…

I don’t work on any projects right now that actively adhere to Scrum, so a lot of this still feels a bit academic… but I think any changes I’m able to implement within existing projects that can benefit from a Scrum-like or Scrum-ish approach, it’s at least a step in the right direction. And, maybe one day I’ll get certified as a Scrum Master (though, to be honest, it strikes me a bit too much ‘fluff’ for something I’d be into).

Share Your Thought