I just read “The Enterprise and Scrum” by Ken Schwaber and I’m left with a single burning question.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about starting a new company or product unit and basing that new entity on Scrum practices. To the contrary, if I were starting a product development effort from scratch I WOULD.

I’m talking about re-factoring an existing software development organization who has historically used conventional Software Development Lifecycle practices (which means some variation of Waterfall methodology) to use Scrum.

Schwaber states in the first couple of chapters that you will loose a fifth of you staff, including a fifth of your management and your organization will be in turmoil for a year.

In this day and age, “Internet Time” where a year is three months long, what existing organization of any size could tolerate such an interruption to their business.

I’ve used what I’ll call “Scrum Like” process before on small teams over which I had complete control, which, I think from a Scrum purist perspective is an oxymoron. 

I’ve been taking some time to re-inform myself after the software development team Microsoft’s Developer Community Web Properties (www.asp.net, www.iis.net, www.windowsclient.net  , www.silverlight.net) suggested that they adopt a Scrum process. (That team is an independent third party.)

After reading the book I can’t figure out how we could do it and all keep our jobs.

One of the other fundamental tenants professed in Schawber’s book is “Never CHANGE Scrum”.  Don’t adopt it to your company’s process, don’t ease into it, don’t even change the vocabulary (role names, etc.) 

This all leaves me very conflicted ad Ken Schwaber is a very smart guy, a definitive voice on Agile Software Development Processes and one of the Developers of Scrum.

Joeological belief : Agile Software Development == GOOD

In this day and age for most software development purposes Agile is not only good, it’s necessary. We simply don’t have time to spec and test things in advance to the Nth degree the way we did in the 70s and 80s and I even believe that Agile architectures at both the Macro and Micro levels are an imperative in today’s successful software shops.

But Scrum ?

Not that it’s not a good idea, I’m just wondering if there is any evidence on the survivability of refactoring existing development organizations, especially those of any real size.

So subscribing gurus, what is YOUR experience on converting a development team to Scrum ?