scrum-anti-patterns

Scrum Anti-Patterns And How To Avoid Them

Scrum anti-patterns describe any attractive, easy-to-implement solution that ultimately makes a problem worse. Therefore, these are the practice not to follow to prevent issues from emerging. Some classic examples of scrum anti-patterns comprise absent product owners, pre-assigned tickets (making individuals work in isolation), and discounting retrospectives (where review meetings are not useful to really make improvements).

Understanding scrum anti-patterns

Scrum concepts are relatively easy to understand, but their successful execution is contingent upon overcoming ingrained habits. As successful as agile methodologies have been, they are not a panacea for inefficient or outdated practices.

Indeed, certain behaviors or ways of operating are going to be detrimental to agile principles and processes. These frequently exhibited behaviors – which can masquerade as solutions – are known as scrum anti-patterns.

No one in an agile team is immune from scrum anti-patterns. This includes the Scrum Master and Product Owner.

In the next section, let’s take a look at some of the more common patterns and how to solve them.

Three common scrum anti-patterns

Absent Product Owners

Product Owners are responsible for creating product value for the customer via the development team. They must be present throughout the sprint to give impetus to decision-making and clarify queries.

Absent Product Owners inhibit the collective personal development of the team and cause product reworks because of misunderstandings. Absences are sometimes exacerbated by a Product Owner having to manage multiple Scrum teams. Active engagement between the PO and the team they are leading is vital.

Pre-assigning tickets

The assigning of tickets by the Product Owner or Scrum Muster to competent individuals is crucial. However, this compartmentalized means of assigning duties causes individuals to work in isolation and not as part of a team. Worse still, it hinders personal and professional growth.

Team members should be given the freedom to add tasks to their in-progress work. Ideally, less experienced individuals in a given task should partner with those who are more experienced.

Discounting retrospectives

Scrum teams must review every sprint at its conclusion. These review sessions are used to discuss what went well and also identify areas for improvement.

Many teams become bored of repetitive retrospectives, causing them to drop these important meetings from their scheduling altogether. Many other teams will hold the meetings but make no effort to actively plan to improve.

To facilitate buy-in for these important meetings, mediators should discard the standardized talking points around strengths and weaknesses.

The 4 Ls Approach

A fresher approach involves something called the 4 Ls:

  1. Liked – what did individuals like?
  2. Learned – what did they learn?
  3. Lacked – are there actions the team is performed that could be improved on?
  4. Longed for – what does the team desire or wish to have?

Key takeaways:

  • Scrum anti-patterns describe actions that follow the path of least resistance. Although they initially seem attractive, these actions are detrimental to agile principles and company growth.
  • No member of an agile team is immune from exhibiting scrum anti-pattern behavior. As leaders setting an example, positions such as Product Owner and Scrum Master have a particular responsibility to set high standards.
  • Some common anti-scrum patterns include Product Owners who fail to lead their teams during product development. Pre-assigning tickets to the most qualified personnel and the avoidance of retrospectives are also detrimental to a business.

Read Next: Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, Agile, Poka-Yoke.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"