“We tried Scrum and it didn’t work”

Jul 17, 2020 | Agile Values, Scrum

I hear this statement a lot recently. Companies claiming they tried to do Scrum, but even after a year or more it didn’t work for them. I disagree – let me tell you why.

Scrum is one of several agile frameworks you can use to set your company up for a VUCA world. It is currently the #1 agile framework used around the world. And that popularity is part of the problem. You see, if something is very popular, people will buy without understanding how it works and what it really does. It’s like trying to become more innovative by having colored bicycles like Google. The point is: colored bicycles do not make you innovative and Scrum does not make you agile! And no, Kanban will also not make you agile.

While Scrum or Kanban are great tools to organize and support agility, they will not make you agile. Yet so many companies believe they would only need to adopt framework X to finally become more agile – but that’s a fallacy. Agility does not come from frameworks or a set of processes – agility is a little more involved than that. And while I understand that many companies are used to implementing sets of processes as solutions, this will not work for agility.

So what makes agility work? What makes a company more agile?

The key to agility is the right Menschenbild (image of human). If that is in place, adoption of agile values and an agile culture will be far easier. And agile values and an agile culture will be the engine making any agile framework work. The framework is only the last step in the chain – and it’s the least decisive.

Many companies who claim Scrum didn’t work for them simply didn’t establish agile values and an agile Menschenbild. In that case it’s no wonder that Scrum doesn’t work for them. And they will probably try the next agile framework and the next … without seeing significant results.

So don’t fret too much over Scrum vs Kanban vs … and focus on the important stuff instead: Menschenbild, values, mindset. If you want to learn more about this approach, feel free to reach out to me.

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