Scrum is the solution to complex problems faced during product development. Following scrum techniques is a challenging task owing to the habits. These habits cause more harm than good. Even provide easily applicable but ineffective solutions. Excessive tailoring, flow disruption, lack of empowerment to teams, and assigning urgent work daily.
Definition of Scrum Anti Patterns
Scrum is the framework developed to meet the goals of product development and optimization. However, a scrum anti pattern takes you far from the goal. Though it is frequently expressed, it remains inefficient. It is seen to hamper the efficiency during scrum ceremonies and affect leaders and managers like Scrum Masters and Product Owners.
Scrum Anti Patterns During the Sprint Planning Meeting
Following are the Scrum anti patterns during sprint planning meeting:
Unrefined Product Backlog
Product Owners practice the mentioned pattern. Their job is to analyze and prioritize the backlog. Rather than completing those, if a product owner shows up in a sprint planning meeting for plans, they are wasting time.
Missing Key Stakeholders
Planning and assigning tasks is possible after discussion with stakeholders. Else, focusing on multiple tasks, ignoring the errors and improvements, and the tight schedule of team members will depreciate the success of future sprints and current efficiency.
Weak Definition of Done And/or Ready
Not setting clarity on the Definition of Done and Ready creates clutter. There is no provision to segregate efforts, thus holding productivity.
Scrum Anti Patterns During the Daily Scrum
The daily scrum is a 15-minute event to discuss the progress and the day's activities. Disturbances or anti-patterns in the daily scrum are
The intervention of outside parties, for instance, stakeholders, without knowledge of history and present causes irrelevant arguments. Impractical approaches create problems for the scrum team, decreasing their efficiency. Some other possible noises include team members' interruption, latecomers, and background noise or environmental disturbances.
Heavily Discussing Work
Meetings do not serve the purpose of daily scrum or change the direction to a different topic of interest, causing incompetence. The important thing is not discussed and members are not well prepared for the discussion, thus wasting everyone's time.
Incompatibility among team members develops due to a lack of communication and trust. Such issues affect communication for important topics of the project as well.
It is necessary to have a schedule, time, and meeting place and stick to the topic. It reduces the complication and members' unwillingness to join the meeting, especially when they find the discussion productive and useful.
Lack of Preparation
Each member must respect the time and know what they need to present or inform the seniors. It reduces time wastage. Making a rule to prepare short notes on production quantity and problems faced can assist.
Scrum Anti Patterns During the Sprint Review
Sprint is the period decided for the completion of target work involving development or optimization. The sprint review is the meeting or ceremony to inspect the work performed and accordingly decide about further requirements. The anti-patterns observed in the sprint review are:
Lack of Attendance
The probable cause of less attendance is presenting improper and messed up information without a direct conclusion. Some other causes are no major changes in the presentation, leading to no room for discussion, suggestions, and recommendations. Presentation style plays a major role in increasing members' interest and attendance.
Gathering people to show unfinished work causes a negative impression and wastes time. Consecutive meetings where the Definition of Done isn't fulfilled may result in a lack of attendance.
Lack of Preparation
It could frustrate the stakeholders due to low information, careless attitude, and inefficient team performance. Presenting different information from the topic of the meeting can further alleviate the interest of members and stakeholders.
Scrum Anti Patterns During the Sprint Retrospective
It involves looking back into past methods and accomplishments to increase efficacy in future actions and projects.
Bringing out personal ill feelings and disaffection while reflecting on the faced issues can never lead to anything productive. Trust and respect are some of the significant scrum values that must be followed during the sprint retrospective.
Rushing or Skipping Retro
Senior members should introduce the importance of retrospective sessions based on the members, companies, and project interests to signify the importance of the meeting. Taking it as a formality will decrease the benefits reaped from the discussion.
No Actions Taken
Discussing the problems and finding a way out is half of the solution to the problem. The application of the solution is the second half. Lack of applying the actions can be due to multiple reasons like impractical solutions which only sound right and are not practical, or lack of understanding or remembering the solution. Additionally, the approach to implement the solution isn't devised, making the implementation difficult and incomprehensible.
It refers to leaking information to external organizations or individuals. Apart from breaking NDA, it violates the scrum values of trust. It is reflected in the lack of sharing information with and among the scrum members.
Lack of Openness
Speaking and listening presentation styles discourage engagement. To make each meeting successful, interactive sessions are the responsibility of senior leaders, presenters, and each member.
Scrum Master Anti Patterns
Scrum masters are responsible for guiding and assisting the team with their expertise. However, they, too, can leave the track and exhibit scrum anti patterns. The below points will help in understanding and improving the common among them:
Wearing Multiple Hats
If scrum masters take up multiple duties, which include adding up new work, their actions show inefficiency. It is commonly seen in the waterfall work pattern where scrum masters have to handle former and new tasks.
It is a common practice to avoid conflicts to ensure stability among multiple people involved. In such cases, external help from psychologists is suggested to find cordial methods to solve the issues.
Too Much Freedom
Scrum is accompanied by values of independence and self-organization, which enables freedom to choose their team and work. However, guidance and role as a coach from Scrum Master should not deviate. He should ensure proper actions and proceedings of the team.
Competition as Motivation
Scrum masters should understand how to use the competition positively as motivation. It may involve promoting the members to compete for better results and creating stress which should be encouraged through bonuses and promotions.
Lack of Experience
The experience and expertise of a scrum master are crucial to lead the scrum. Poor guidance and lack of knowledge on how to carry on the actions will result in the inefficiency of members and actions.
Product Owner Anti Patterns
The product owner is one of the three scrum masters that lead scrum to success. They may also show scrum anti patterns, as discussed below -
It may or may not be due to the product owner. Whatever the reason, it results in a lack of direction for the team. However, the reasons can be multiple, like Project Owners having to multitask or multiple team members having to act as the project owner. The reason can be that the scrum master is assigned the responsibility, or the acting person is hired part-time. Either of these reasons can compromise the results.
Poor Backlog Management
Backlogs require extra time and effort. Wrong and outdated backlogs are significant scrum anti-patterns that result in a waste of time. If the product owner piles up the backlogs or misses the detail for its verification and sufficient information on understanding, it will lead to undefined work.
Everyone needs to be applauded for their hard work. But the same wish over others' work breaks the unity and will of the team to give their best, indicating the behavior to be a scrum anti pattern.
Not learning from mistakes is common practice among the population. Doing the same in the post of Product Owner poses harmful consequences to the product, members, stakeholders, and organization.
For efficient results, looking at the big picture is important, short term goals or requirements may lead to inefficiency or short-term benefits only. Finding unique points and taking risks are skills needed in product owners. A method to combat insufficiency in product owners is proper guidance by the scrum master.
Sprint Anti-patterns of the Stakeholders
Though not part of the scrum team, a stakeholder is an important personality who can show anti-patterns and affect the sprint further, leading to imperfect productivity. Here's how:
(Regular) Emergency Work
Incorporating additional work as a feature or function requires the scrum team's hard work. Additionally, it might cause workers to begin from scratch, leaving their current focus. It may be proof of talent in an emergency, but it becomes the reason for inefficiency on regularity.
Scrum members are allotted work based on the Product Owner's work and Scrum Master's plan. Direct contact between developers and stakeholders is unprofessional and adds to the burden and confusion.
Everything’s a Bug
The case may arise when stakeholders try to sneak in the task as a bug. Increasing the speed of delivery through it by changing the priorities results in confusion.
Sprint Anti Patterns of the Line Managers
Connecting management with employees, ensuring proper completion of targets by employees, and managing their work. Their anti-patterns concerning sprint are:
All Hands to the Pumps W/O Scrum
Working on an urgent task while leaving scrum can be directed by line managers. However, it indicates going against the scrum rules. The lack of faith in scrum can pose negative results.
Reassigning Team Members
Temporary reassigning may utilize the best of each member. But constant activity can not be fruitful. Owing to trust and coordination among the team, the best result is yielded. The endeavor needs time and continuity in working together. Moreover, the change most often might not match the choice of team members when volunteering is a must in the scrum.
It is performed if the special task is assigned to a particular member or complete team. Being a violation of scrum principles, it also indicates a lack of awareness and knowledge in the leader or managers.
Sprint Anti-patterns of the Scrum Team
Comprising all the members, the scrum team may collectively show anti-patterns discussed as follows -
Not Having a Sprint Goal
Random prioritization and assignment of work will always give below-average results. Until a sequence is followed, there is always a chance to miss something. Relation and continuity improve the focus on process and results.
Not Delivering the Sprint Goal
Sprint goals derive from the scrum teams. It is acceptable to miss the sprint goals due to logical reasons and maximum efforts to avoid them. Else, it shows the ruthless and inefficient behavior of the team. Scrum leaders focus on solving a problem through decision-making and strategy to follow the scrum and reach the goal. Thus, accomplishing the main goal is the reason behind the action and to get results for stakeholders and customer satisfaction.
The Maverick & the Sprint Backlog
The addition of a backlog needs to follow a procedure. Necessary ones can be added with compensation. However, random administration into the team's burden without knowledge and permission is highly non permissible.
It refers to working on a project, reaching the goal, and then working on the bugs or weak points. Scrum does not allow such practices owing to belief in complete follow of each step without error. If any occurs, it will be corrected per the quality check's direction. Leaving the corrections for after delivery or complaints poses inefficiency.
Delivering Y Instead of X
Unagreeable opinions about the methods, task, or results may arise in such a situation. Lack of communication, participation, understanding and poor presentation style ultimately misinterpreting the task changes the result. Consequences have a massive impact on efficiency.
New Kid on the Block
Introducing new members is not against the scrum principles, artifacts, and values. But, the lack of proper enlightenment on current works, expectations, and background history is wrong. How can positive results be expected in such situations? Rather it's a route to the loss.
Variable Sprint Length
Changing the sprint length is evidence of a lack of foreseeing, proper planning, and adherence to scrum values and principles. Besides being unrecommended, the action requires the attention of authorities and accountability by the scrum team.
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Scrum anti patterns result from improper knowledge and belief in scrum principles. It not only invalidates the works and results but also obstructs competence. A few common anti-patterns based on the positions and scrum framework are discussed to avoid the same.
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