2014/01/27 15:15 Rick Dove, “Scrum a Dum Dum, Three Core and Some Crumb”, Agile Systems and Systems Engineering Working Group

Rick Dove (Paradigm Shift International) with the Agile Systems and SE WG commentary to improve the quality of working paper to be submitted to the July issue of INCOSE Insight

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

INCOSE International Workshop 2014, Torrance, California


Review articles are at:

This article is to fill in for a missing article.

From Alastair Cockburn, one of the original Agile Manifesto people

  • There’s the core of what scrum is all about, and then other people throw things on top of it

1. Concept of a sprint:  have to deliver something

2. Giving the team enough power to exercise expertise

3. Inspect and adapt every day

Learning loops is what makes Scrum agile

  • Every morning stand-up meeting:  are we still on track, what are you doing that someone else might line up
  • End of sprint:  technical retrospective, we delivered, what do we think about it; then process retrospective, should we have 3-week sprint or 5-week sprint?
  • These retrospectives can be confrontation, constantly will question what we did, and see if we could have done it better.  Not for the faint of heart.

In article, not trying to do a Scrum slide

  • Problem:  most of Scrum tells you about good project management practices, but it doesn’t make you agile
  • Loops
  • The people who invented Scrum understand that they were putting learning loops in.
  • There’s a good body of knowledge about what Scrum is trying to do, it’s Peter Checkland Soft Systems Methodology
  • SSM is taught in most Systems Engineering processes
  • Checkland came as a  hard systems engineering, and realized that everything he learned doesn’t work with politics, people
  • e.g. 14 stakeholders, and each want everything today

Have different corporate cultures, who is on team, and will let them do

Systems engineering is a soft system

  • Themes, conflicts

Comment: Start with Scrum, ending with SSM.

Way too many people equate agile to Scrum.  Want to start with a foundation of understanding they already have about Scrum, and figure out where else it could be reapplied.  Learning loops, that segue into learning loops.

Comment: Why scrum works?  The other barnacles (the scrum master, the product owner) can help to make things work.

Alastair Cockburn has a 5-minute video on this.

  • Says you don’t need a Scrum master, but they’re highly recommended, as people don’t appreciate that they’re supporting learning loops.
  • But there are a lot of people down the road on this who don’t need a scrum master.

Comment:  Audience?

  • Multiple domains of interest.
  • When we start defining a agile systems methodology, we’ll have to start with soft systems.
  • Starting with Scrum, but there are three core elements, period.

Comment:  Learning loops closer to action research than SSM per se, although the two are complementary.  People looking at SSM won’t necessarily connect to the learning loops in SSM.

Comment: Scrum master?

When have an experienced group, as scrum master could be a nuisance.

Comment:  SSM as a way of getting world views out on the table.  Scrum master can play out that role, and help with power balancing.

Agree, but the scrum master isn’t always necessary.

  • Have a 3-man team working on project, have to carry water to the team when they need it.  That’s a scrum master’s job, but we don’t look at it that way.