We hate Scrum and Agile...when it's done wrong (Ep. 489)

When it's done wrong, it becomes punitive micromanagement. When it's done right, it empowers everyone to tackle the problems they handle best.

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Well, we don’t hate it per se. It’s more of a love/hate relationship, if we’re honest with ourselves. You can do it wrong: excessive top-down structure is the kryptonite of developer brilliance. Or you can do it right: setting up the team so everyone feels empowered and blameless accountability lets you evolve from mistakes and improve over time.

For today’s podcast episode, we sat down with two of our public platform teammates: Jon Chan, Director of Engineering, and Shanda Woods, Certified Scrum Professional extraordinaire, who also happens to be a yoga instructor and cycling coach. We discuss how to embrace Agile and Scrum as a creativity-driving mindset rather than a system of micromanagement.

Episode notes

About three years ago, when our public platform engineering team at Stack started growing, we realized that we needed a more robust formal project management system that could scale with all the creativity coming on board. That’s when we started looking at formal, by-the-book frameworks to empower and coach our teams to their fullest potential. We landed on Agile and Scrum.

Admittedly, our development team was nervous about implementing Scrum and Agile at first. So we focused on the goals of introspection and accountability rather than the rigidness of enforcement.

Agile and Scrum get a lot of hate. But is that their fault or are you doing it wrong?

We talked about this on the podcast a few years ago, when Ben, Paul, and Sara wondered, “Is Scrum making you a worse engineer?

It’s about providing support—not punishing people. Done right, Agile and Scrum can be a force of freedom and autonomy when they start with trust.

Connect with Shanda and Jon on LinkedIn.

We conclude with a big high five to Lifeboat badge winner jminkler for their answer to how to create an Instagram share link in PHP (thank you).

'Til next time.


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