In 2003 Mike Cohn started this project with a paper entitled: Toward a Catalog of Scrum Smells (pdf – in the spirit of Code Smells) and last year Rowan Bunning did a presentation Sharing More than Deodorant for Scrum Smells (pdf). Rowan encouraged me to create a wiki with all of these smells. So I’ve spent some time in the past few days fleshing out this Catalog. These are a series of simple patterns that describe a problem and then offer some potential solutions.
As it stands today the Catalog contains nearly 20 smells:
- Persistent Signatures
- ScrumMaster Assigns Work
- The Daily Scrum is For the ScrumMaster
- Specialized Job Roles
- Testers will not integrate with Team
- Reluctance to estimate Backlog Items
- Is It Really Done inspired by Henrik Kniberg
- Nothing Ever Changes Around Here inspired by Henrik Kniberg
- No One Wants to Attend Retrospectives, by Mark Levison
- Executive Pressure inspired by Henrik Kniberg
- Missing Sprint Commitment inspired by Henrik Kniberg
- Technical Debt inspired by Henrik Kniberg
- Not Acting Like a Team inspired by Henrik Kniberg
- No Engineering Practices, by Mark Levison
- Gorilla in the Room inspired by Mark Wainwright
But to improve this we need you help:
- Most smells need a better discussion
- Most smells are missing case studies
- More smells
Nothing Ever Gets Better Around Here
- Retrospective doesn’t happen
- No actionable items generated from Retrospective
- Actions aren’t taken
- Non-team members attend the meeting
- No one wants to talk
- The same issues come up time after time
If we’re not continuously improving we’re not really Agile. So what happened?
- Action Items if they exist, don’t have owners.
- Action Items get forgotten as soon as the Retrospective is over
- Team fails to improve
6. Example Remedies
- After discussing issues – ask team members to suggest concrete actions (see Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great for some great ideas).
- Ensure that action items are small and achievable.
- Ask a for one volunteer to own each action item.
- Action items can’t be assigned to people not present at the meeting.
- Discuss action items as part of the daily standup – at least a few times during the iteration.
- Post action items in a highly visible location
7. Case Studies
Credit: this is based on material from “10 ways to screw up with Scrum and XP” by Henrik Kniberg, and personal experience.