Blue Pill and Red Pill

During a course in Romania, a participant asked me: “don’t you think you are setting false expectations? Scrum may help, but it will not help that much. This sets false expectations and disappoints people.”

Good comments. Good concerns. I don’t agree that we are setting false expectations; although I think some issues must be addressed.

As background, I said that we want each team to increase its productivity by 5 to 10 times. And  by working at a normal, sustainable pace. Also, with everyone having more fun. Then, double productivity in 6-12 months.

Now, this assumes we get aggressive about removing impediments. Creative in identifying them. Also, make a good business case for many of them. Act rigorously and professionally. And, the managers and the firm permit us to fix things.

I admit, managers often don’t let us fix enough impediments.  Sometimes almost none.  Often fixes to the most important problems require their support.

So, if someone has managers who won’t let you fix impediments readily (and yes this situation exists in the real world), I still expect them to try. Yes, it will be harder, and maybe it will be hard to double productivity.

I think a lot of ‘bad’ managers are decent people.  They need someone smart like you to help them see the light.

Another partial answer to his question…

It helps to tell the truth even when it is hard. I think adults should not lose heart when things aren’t good and the path forward is unclear. In other words, adults should not get discouraged.

Scrum does not believe in taking the Blue pill.

For those who have not seen the Matrix movie in a while, let me remind you. The Red pill means  you can see the truth; it is painful and hard, but you have a chance at freedom.  A chance to fix things.  The Blue pill gives you ‘happiness’ as the Matrix would like you to see it, with a blue filter.  But it is false; it is not the truth you are seeing. Freedom is not possible. You give up freedom for a false ‘happiness.’

So, people can and do complain that Scrum makes them see bad things. Scrum, compared to waterfall, does do that.  You do see more ‘bad’ things using Scrum.  Scrum makes them visible (Scrum does not cause them to exist).

Seeing the truth makes it easier to fix things.

But, after everything, Scrum is still more fun than waterfall.  If you play real Scrum.

 

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