An organization may know that they have to do something different in order to meet their goals consistently. They have been told that Agile principles and Scrum can transform them into a highly efficient company, but transformation takes a lot of effort and commitment. And maybe, they have been told that unless they adopt the principles fully, they shouldn’t even begin.
I say, let’s start with a Scrum-But instead.
The Scrum-But is a transitional stage in an organization’s Agile transformation process. It’s a way to describe how the organization is implementing Agile principles. For example: “We are doing Scrum, but we are still getting used to all the ceremonies.” or “We are doing Scrum, but our stakeholders and product owner are not participating fully yet.”
Transformation is not instantaneous; it requires commitment – the kind of commitment that was demonstrated by the explorers of the New World when they burned their boats after arriving, and said, “There’s no going back and only discovery ahead.” So, an Agile transformation is marked by the creation of the Scrum-But, when the organization commits and begins their journey. Progress is measured by how the Scrum-But shrinks.
Again, the Scrum-But is transitory; it is not meant to be the landing place. Just as athletes must regularly work out in the correct manner to get their muscles toned, so must an organization “work out” by improving their commitment to the principles and demonstrating at the ceremonies. And, as improvements are seen, further goals are set to keep the athlete/organization moving forward.
Customers that I have worked with, have received great results using the Scrum-But approach. Some Agile practitioners have a problem with the idea and say that it keeps an organization from realizing all the benefits of a transformation. I say, “Pardon my Scrum-But.”