The Scrum methodology of agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. In fact, Scrum and other agile processes were inspired by its shortcomings. The Scrum methodology emphasizes communication and collaboration, functioning software, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities — all attributes that suffer in the rigidly ordered waterfall paradigm.
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As some of you might know, one of the biggest influences on the development of Scrum project management is complex systems theory, especially in relation to adaptive life forms. That is, just as life forms have adapted to survive in evolving conditions throughout history, Scrum teams also adapt to real-world business conditions to remain competitive and “survive.” Interestingly, several Scrum experts have commented that the Scrum framework will not evolve—that its current construction is stable to endure as-is. In my mind, such an assessment seems not only short-sighted, but deeply contradictory. If the process is based on continual improvement and adaptation, why wouldn’t the framework itself be subject to the same kind of survival-motivated revisions?
I was pleased, then, to find this blog post by Certified Scrum Trainer Dr. Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, which charts the evolution of Scrum from its early days to the present and wonders where it might head next. Certainly, he’s been on the scene since the early days and has a great perspective, but, for the most part, he doesn’t really commit to any predictions about how Scrum will evolve. It’s something I think about every day as I run up against certain shortcomings at the organization and wonder if it’s the framework itself or simply impediments derived from the people working within it. And it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about more as organizations (my own included) wrestle with scaling small-team Scrum for the enterprise.
What do you think? Will Scrum continue to evolve or is the basic framework set in stone, with no reason to adapt beyond its current state? If you do think it will continue to evolve, how so? Please post your Nostradamus-like predictions in the comments section.
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