It seems nearly inevitable. So few organizations do Scrum properly. They think they are delivering points instead of value. Or perhaps they can't get beyond the notion that points represent complexity that is relative to other stories instead of representing time or effort relative to the individual completing the task.

There are so many places to go wrong, and I have seen organizations run the gamut for improper implementations of Scrum. I have worked with only one organization that truly got things right across the board. To combat improper thoughts, implementation, and beliefs about Scrum, leadership would give out a book called Scrum: a Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction as required reading to all on-boarding team members to ensure that the team spoke the same language. Then leadership would hold regular exercises among the teams to instill the principles and though processes to create an aligned environment where Scrum could thrive.

There are so many places to go wrong, and I have seen organizations run the gamut for improper implementations of Scrum. I have worked with only one organization that truly got things right across the board. To combat improper thoughts, implementation, and beliefs about Scrum, leadership would give out a book called Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction as required reading to all on-boarding team members to ensure that the team spoke the same language. Then leadership would hold regular exercises among the teams to instill the principles and though processes to create an aligned environment where Scrum could thrive.

Why was this so important to leadership? Why had they bought in so deeply that they actually drove deep alignment and understanding? Because it solves all of their problems through the analysis of metrics. This is the biggest selling point of Scrum. If a team (including management) isn't devoted to understanding how to properly apply story points, how to handle incomplete story points, how to use the metrics to replace their current models for forecasting, etc... Then that team might as well not bother with Scrum; they are likely shooting themselves in the foot by increasing ceremony while still having to fit the bill for old ways of conducting business (predictions, forecasting, reporting, etc...).

So I leave you with this: If you're going to switch to Scrum, then be open to leaving all of your current project management ways behind and welcome uncertainty for about two months until you have a few (3-4) sprints worth of metrics to provide accurate analysis and forecasts which will become more accurate over time with additional data. Do your homework before switching and make sure you understand the true benefit of Scrum and why you are implementing it over your current process. Be intentional; don't pick Scrum just because it's what the industry agrees is the best thing for project management (it is the best for most cases with very few exceptions – nope, your organization is not a unicorn, even if you are in banking or healthcare).

What are some things your organization has done to help or hurt their Scrum implementation? I'd love to know in the comments!