I’m a team member, what must I absolutely know about Scrum ?

2009-06-04

I’m a team member, what must I absolutely know about Scrum ?

If you are a team member and know little about Scrum don’t despair. Here is a small set of recommendations I have for you:

1. You need a ScrumMaster in the team. The ScrumMaster should know about Scrum and will help with your doubts. Don’t think that you have to know all about Scrum, that is his job. There is no need to worry if you don’t become an expert in Scrum. That is not your job.

2. Learning the basic roles, artifacts and activities of Scrum is very easy, and some minutes reading should make you understand them. You should read about it and know the very basics. That’s the easy part and everyone should have it by heart. Give yourself time to learn from experience.

3. Understand that the proper use of Scrum requires good communication. While knowing the basic rules for Scrum is easy, learning how properly use Scrum to your advantage is difficult. Trust your ScrumMaster, talk to him, talk to the other team members. Keep communication channels open. Your ScrumMaster will be able to help you.

4. You have a set of skills and a job to do. If something or someone does not allow you to do your job, something is wrong. Talk to people about it. Let the ScrumMaster know about it. Ask for help. One of the key concepts of Scrum is letting people that know how to do the job do it.

Whether you know about Scrum or not, here is a rule to everyone:

5. No project can succeed if you don’t know your craft no matter how much Scrum you know. Dig into your architecture studies, read about design patterns, read about UML, dive into learning about tests or configuration management. Learn about TDD and continuous integration. All those things are essential to making software. If you are working in a business you know nothing about, take time to understand a little about it. If you can learn about tools that leverage your knowledge, do it.

Get to know YOUR trade first.

A good programmer with a process will outperform a good programmer without it, but all that a bad programmer can do with a process is to report very well how bad things are going.

Quality is not absolute

2009-05-25

   I have heard a lot of people talking about the execution of tasks related to quality and many absolute rules on the subject.

   I always hear about the subject on rigid terms and I don’t think people really ponder the variables related to the subject.

   First, a brief introduction on the polemic subject:

   A team wants to do a task that is related to the quality of the code, let’s say, improve the unit test coverage. On one side, people say this is part of doing the tasks, and are not open to discussion. The team should just goes ahead and do it. On the complete opposite side, there is a pressure from the customer to have the product ready within a certain time-frame and he does not care about quality.

   Similar discussions are something that can be seen on a day-to-day basis in most projects, and in my view, putting it simply like I did above is very one-dimensional and limiting.

   From the little I learned from manufacturing industry, for every material, there are different quality standards demanded by the factories from their vendors. There is a definition on what is the quality standard prior to production, and depending on the usage of the material, the standards are different.

   Suppose you are buying steel to build a popular vehicle, your iron needs to be assessed under a series of tests so you can be ensured that the car will be safe to the general population. If the iron is to be used in a formula 1, the requirements and the quality level must be much more demanding.

   The formula 1 will be running above 300Km/h under extreme g forces, and the popular car will not. It does not make sense to use the same quality on both cases.

   I once visited a rice farm in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, here in Brasil. The rice farmed there goes into different rice brands in the supermarket, and those different brands sell with different prices and quality standards. The top brand comes from that farm, and also some not so good brands. And when you look at the rice, it came from the same farm, but they do not have the same quality.

   One of the brands go through extra processing, leaving only top quality grain in the shipping. The other does not, and is of course cheaper.

   With this, my point is that quality is not an absolute concept. Quality must be adequate to the purpose it serves!

   The company producing software must determine standards for quality that the team must maintain rationally. The team must have the freedom to maintain the agreed level of quality, but not above that. If the PO pressures you to go below the “minimum” level of quality, the ScrumMaster must defend the team so they can do their job and the technological deficit is held bellow a certain level.

   If the team wants to do a task that goes above the required level of quality, that decision IS up to the PO. It does not matter if the Team is capable of delivering NASA quality when you need to do a short lived system for a small marketing campaign.

   It is important to be mindful, there is a minimum, and everyone must try to understand what that minimum is. Lots of times, this minimum comes in the discussion of the Definition of Done, and sometimes on non-funcional requirements on the ProductBacklog.

   On the first example I gave, the team improving unit tests, if the agreed coverage is 80%, and the team has 80% but wants to spend a week getting it to 95%, it must have the involvement of the PO.

   If the level was 75%, below what was agreed upon as the minimum level of quality, then there is no discussion, it must be done or else the task itself is not Done.

   This minimum does depend on the project, and going above it, if it is not effort free, must have the agreement of the client. That’s how I see it.

Scrum Gathering Lectures Part II

2009-05-22

   It was particularly interested to see Danilo’s presentation. Having some inside information because Concrete is one of the IT suppliers of globo.com, it was with curious eyes that I saw it.

   I was particularly interested in how much detailing there would be.

   I think that Concrete was luckily to take part in some of what he was talking about. And the process of adoption in globo.com definitely was decisive for our adoption of Scrum. As soon as we heard about their adoption and started learning what it was all about, we were sure; we had to do it to!

   I particularly liked when he mentioned “Kaisen Mind”. I must confess to be a sucker for some of the Japanese way of thinking. 

   This was a strange lecture. Not because the idea isn’t seductive, using Scrum as tool for strategic decision is sexy. The reason I think it was strange is because it never looks like Scrum at a higher level in companies. Directors are usually out to get each other, there are a lot of politics going on, and the whole team looks like chickens.

   In most places, at the executive level, what really drives people are the bonuses and how these are achieved. It is very, very hard to get them to think like a team. At the end of the day, it feels like you have a backlog and a few meetings to see how things are going. Getting them to work together without a change on how you reward an executive is imho wasting time.

   Unless you are in Japan or some other special condition is found in a company, such as weak executives vs. strong CEO, it looks like Scrum can only surface by doing a deeper change.

   This change would require “team work” to be rewarded and that transparency could be a rewarded in some manner.

   I think it is a very good initiative to try (applying Scrum at the exec level). But at this point impossible to achieve as a model.

   It was a very good presentation and certainly brings to the table a lot to ponder.

   This presentation was the one I liked the most and lighted up some starts in my mind. First of all, we consider them competition, and they do many things similar to us.

   As us, to them the PO is a client (as I think it should always be). And there was a good discussion on what kinds of problems they have to deal with because of that. Also, there was talk on how to deal with the old management and how they collaborate to spread the knowledge of Scrum within the client.

   A very hot subject was the possible recertification as CMMi 5 while using Scrum and their fear that the evaluator might influence too much the result. Traditionally, to prove reaching certain criteria, the evaluator requires documents, and some of the kpi are addressed in Scrum with meetings.

   If you have the time, check out this presentation.

   This lecture was a mystery to me. Every time I talk about distributed version control, the discussion always gets down to backups and making the programmer more prone to committing the source often.

   Distributed source control gets the programmer in a mindset to synchronize with the server less often because he doesn’t have too. He only has to synchronize to get into an integration test or a specific build.

   I was wondering how did they embrace it and live with this? And the answer was: they do not. The distributed versions all reside in a central server, so the commits are all done in the server as well.

   They also demand that the stories are shorter in terms of time so the programmers have to synchronize more often.

   What I got out of this presentation is that GIT (or Mercurial) have better features to deal with merges, diff , etc, nothing more.

   I liked very much to finally meet Boris Gloger. I have heard a lot about him from the guys at globo.com since the time they started Scrum adoption there and I was curious.

   The presentation was very good, I think I know little about retrospectives and I think the presentation brought us very valuable tips. I used some of it on the very next day when we had a Retrospective here in Concrete.

   I was somewhat disappointed with one of the side discussions during the presentation. When talking about quality items on the making of the product, using refactoring as an example, he said that the team should just do it and there was no need to tell the PO about it.

   I asked him directly about transparency, and what he said was that the PO cares about “Done” and this does not concern him (or something in this line of thought). There was also a quick suggestion about telling the PO you’re working on some of the items of the Backlog.

   I understand that sometimes the team can do some tasks underneath the PO’s radar and that it can be easier than having to explain to the PO what is going on, but, imho, a lie is a lie, and even those tasks should be discussed with the PO openly.

   I think nothing should be hidden whenever possible. And if the PO, having the ability to choose, chooses wrong, it’s our job to live with it. To try to help him make better decisions and not deciding it all for him in the shadows is our role.

   I would rather tell the PO that the refactoring is necessary, why it is necessary, and let him know we are doing it.

Scrum Gathering Lectures Part I

2009-05-20

In this post I continue my comments on the lectures I attended to at the “Scrum Gathering 2009 Brazil”.

  • Scrum e a crise mundial: Por que Scrum é a melhor opção para projetos em tempos de crise  – Rafael Sabbagh PUC Rio and Marcos Garrido – Palm I (Morning Session of the 12th)
       The presentation seemed closely related to the future dissertation of Rafael Sabbagh and Marcos Garrido, both doing their Masters in PUC Rio. The main line was that Scrum is easier to sell to clients in times of crisis, and this is a particular good time to do that.   On the good side, it was one of the few presentations with low demand on the knowledge of Scrum from the people watching. The bad, in my opinion, was that the presentation did not really define itself as being directed to clients or as being directed to the sales force. I also missed the traditional graphic with the ROI over time.

 

The early delivery of value by using Scrum.   

The early delivery of value by using Scrum.

   I also think that the theme itself is very relevant but kind of bold because the presenters are not from the sales department. As a personal, very personal choice, I would not dare do this without most of the slides coming from the commercial department.
   After the presentation the discussion was very good, and kept going and going, no one wanted to leave the room.

  • Keynote Address – Ken Schwaber, co-founder Scrum & President Scrum Alliance – Grand I & II (Virtual Presentation)
     
       It was one of the usual presentations from Ken Schwaber. Usual to him, awesome to the rest of us! The crowd went wild when in a question (pinning Ken versus the PMI presentation earlier) where Ken answered that the project was done by the ProductOwner, ScrumMaster and the Team, so, there was no place for a Project Manager. 
       Of course the ScrumMaster is a Project Manager, but it was a great stunt that few are capable of pulling out. There was lots of cheering in the audience here.
    We also did the command & control exercise following Ken’s instructions. It was done to illustrate the power of self-management, and this often gets me thinking that at the end of the day Ken is all about being ethical in the workplace. The exercise itself was kind of awkward because most of the audience had done it already. 
    Bottom line, if you get the chance to see him speaking, don’t miss it. It’s simple, not pretentious, very valuable and, to some extent entertaining.
  •  

  • Usando DoD (Definition of Done) para amadurecer a qualidade do produto  – Gustavo Coutinho, Provider, e Luciano Felix, CSP Especializa Treinamentos – Palm II
       This presentation was about the Definition of Done and it’s correlation to the technological deficit created during the execution of most projects. The approach of the presentation seemed to follow the actual thinking process the guys at Provider Sistemas went through it respect to the DoD.
       It makes it look tough, like the Definition of Done became a major item for them as can be seen on slide 31 with DoD at the center of the Scrum Activities. My view is that they like this part of Scrum best and it really works for them.
       In the presentation there is a suggestion of DoD multi-levels where there are requirements for the tasks, the Sprint and the Release. My view is that the DoD levels referring to the Sprint and the Release should be tasks, and enforced by the ScrumMaster because it relates to the company culture. Generally speaking, these are technological deficits that they think make sense grouping by each Sprint or Release. This is the case of a full integration of the software where they might do it only once in a Sprint.
       In any case, my observation does not mean any change in the actual tasks, only on how to call them because they “made up” a new taxonomy where as in my view there was no need to (If it works, that’s what matters).
       On the second part of their presentation, they introduce one group dynamics exercise designed to find out good items for the DoD for a project or as standards for a company. It’s really worth a look. Check out their presentation on the link above.

PMI at the Gathering

2009-05-19

   The day of the 12th (May-2009) started with the opening speech of Jim Cundiff, the Managing Director of the Scrum Alliance. Nothing too big about what was said, but I see as very big that he was here. To me, this shows that the Scrum Alliance is really interested in Latin America and of course in Brasil.

   After his brief presentation, Ricardo Vargas took the floor. He is “only” the chairman of the PMI Board (2009). Again, here, the thing that had my attention was the fact that he was there! As PMI sees the growth of agile projects in the US in the IT Business, economic interest can be more clearly seen.

   It seems that in the US, (self-denominated) agile projects (in IT) are now more used than the projects with heavier or more traditional approaches.

   His presentation was more about PMI than about Scrum. It was clear that he knew very little about Scrum. He seemed to know that it was lighter, and that teams are self-managing. When talking about the PMI and the PMBok, he was trying to be clear that the guides are not rules; they are recommendations on practices that the organization thinks will work. His message was in the line of: “Use whatever works and gets results!”

   Underneath, with this strategy, the PMI is trying to make agile or empirical approaches a leg of their guides. Today, the PMI and the ScrumAlliance are certainly aligned, but on the long run, it looks as if the PMI is looking to absorb Scrum. Today, the ScrumAlliance wants the PMI stamp, and the PMI is looking at all this market that is trading management practices. The hidden message is that PMI will accept agile when the rate of change is higher. I felt the hidden message was that Scrum is good for software and programmers, but if you need an Oil Platform, or have a Billion Dollar project, call me.
 

  

Ricardo Vargas, chairman of the PMI speaks to the Scrum community.

 

Ricardo Vargas, chairman of the PMI speaks to the Scrum community.

   One of the more polemic topics was the self-management of Scrum Teams. Ricardo said that he has never seen a team that would be productive without someone telling them what to do. In his view, 90% of people would do nothing without being forced to. He sure made clear he was talking about his personal experience. My personal view is that his vision is probably accurate for construction work or a work where you take a black liquid out of the ground to be burned, but programmers do intellectual work and it may be different in the IT business. My view on this is certainly more naïve or romantic, but I can live with that.

   PMI is, and will continue to lead in project management guides and skills. Empirical and Agile methods will start to be a part of the PMI teachings and the PMBok, that’s for sure. Traditional project management and heavier methods will still dominate and be effective whenever the requirements are in control, and change is not as significant as it is in our industry.

   Of course, as software penetrates more and more every aspect of human life, and the pace of change increases, it is very likely that the Agile methods will expand and become dominant in the future. Time alone will tell.

This was certainly an exciting morning!

Scrum Gathering Brazil 2009

2009-05-19

Last week a great event took place in São Paulo, Brasil, where a lot of Scrum enthusiasts gathered to discuss and learn more about Scrum.

I’m talking about the “Scrum Gathering Brazil 2009”. The event happened in the luxurious Grand Hyatt on the last 12th and the 13th (May-2009). It was very well organized by the Scrum Alliance folks and the local guys from Adaptworks.

From that event I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the experience others are having with the use of Scrum in Brasil and hopefully gained some insight from it.

One of the first decisions that came out of this event is that I really need to go back to writing about Scrum and get into the discussions that are going on.  My blog about Scrum is back, and I hope, here to stay. As a suggestion from my colleagues here in Concrete Solutions, the posts will be now preferably in English to better enjoy the riches of a possibly international discussion.

In this post I’ll share my overall view of the event, and maybe this will get things going.

As I’ve stated, I think the event was very well organized. Participation however, was not very heterogeneous in my opinion. Few customers attended. The event looked like a meeting about Scrum for Scrum enthusiasts in Brasil, as a mean to get them together.

The gathering had a lot of people from the academic Brasil, lots of students, people from companies that are early adopters of Scrum (such as globo.com and Petrobrás) and some service providers (such as Adaptworks and CI&T).

The presentations, in general, assumed you already knew Scrum to some extent, so, in this sense, it was in accord with the attendance. As a whole the presentations were not very rich in details, and some were really, and explicitly a starting point for discussion. My opinion is that little insight came from the presentations themselves, but a lot from discussions after them.

People seemed to be genuinely excited and willing to enter honest discussions. Everyone seemed really interested in the opinion and to learn from the others there. The discussions were not mere rhetorical confrontations. In my opinion this was the best aspect of the gathering. People seemed to be interested in improving our work condition and practices. I just hope this continues as we move forward to seeing the attendance of the actual clients.

On the next post I’ll comment specifically about the lectures I have attended and what I thought about it all.

O Tao do Scrum

2009-01-02

Este post trata de mais uma analogia buscando o entendimento da relação entre o desenvolvimento de sistemas, metodologias em geral e Scrum.

Começo este texto com citações de Bruce Lee:  http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bruce_Lee

Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

“Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there.” — Tao of Jeet Kune Do

Bruce Lee ficou muito famoso através de suas aparições no cinema americano em que retrata artes marciais de forma realística pela primeira vez no Ocidente. Na época as artes marcias orientais eram muito restritas no ocidente e a participação de Bruce Lee nas telonas gerou um grande furor e consequente interesse nunca antes visto pelas culturas orientais.

Além de conhecer profundamente artes marciais, Bruce estudou filosofia na Universidade de Washington. Era um perfeccionista, e parecia buscar para sua própria vida um desenvolvimento mental e um desenvolvimento físico compatível.

Através de sua filosofia fica fácil entender porque ele é considerado o “artista marcial” mais influente do século 20.

Antes da criação das artes marciais, o homem em conflito tinha que agir de forma livre nos combates corpo-a-corpo. Os instintos eram dominantes quando o treinamento não existia. As artes marciais surgiram através de estudos dos movimentos de animais e do corpo humano. Buscava-se eficiência, conhecimento do corpo e controle.

A “era” das artes marciais trazia consigo uma forma de combate e uma forma de ensino. Junto com o conhecimento obtido do corpo e de seus movimentos e capacidades veio o formalismo e as doutrinas.

Com o tempo, as diferentes artes marciais (conhecidas hoje e já extintas) passaram a se basear em formas sólidas, se tornaram sequências pré-estabelecidas de movimentos. Se tornaram quase coreografadas e viraram dogmas. Os diferentes estilos eram comparados e cada clã defendia a sua forma de agir e mover.

Quando Bruce Lee cria o Jeet Kune Do, ele propõe uma quebra nas formas fixas, ele propõe no Ocidente que se utilize nas artes marciais aquilo que funcione, que seja eficiente, e não o que seja dogmático. Ao criar o Jeet Kune Do, Bruce mistura as artes marciais que estudou tentando criar a arte marcial definitiva.

Quando caras geniais como  Ivar Jacobson Grady Booch  James Rumbaugh criaram UML e RUP de certa forma eles buscavam o mesmo que Bruce. RUP deveria ser a forma definitiva de se desenvolver sistemas.

Acontece que com Bruce a história acabou sendo diferente. Em pouco tempo Bruce levou a filosofia para os seus próprios movimentos. Bruce concluiu que qualquer arte marcial, incluindo o Jeet Kune Do, solidificava o homem e que, portanto o limitava na hora do combate. Não havia fórmulas que fossem suficientes. Era necessário conhecer o próprio corpo e mente profundamente. Era necessário adaptar os movimentos às necessidades sempre, e não o contrário.

Bruce desejava ser como a água! Adaptável a qualquer situação. De certa forma, Scrum busca isso. Scrum prega a adaptação, e auto-inspeção. Ao mesmo tempo em que não solidifica como devemos nos mover nos pede que façamos o melhor que podemos. Por isso, Scrum não é uma metodologia, e sim um framework. O que é buscado é justamente o espaço para que possamos adaptar os nossos movimentos ao combate que se apresenta na nossa frente.

Em contrapartida, a rejeição pura e simples das artes marciais não vão te levar a conhecer mais as capacidades de movimento e ação que o corpo humano proporciona. Da mesma forma, a fuga deste conhecimento pré-existente nos solidifica e impede o crescimento.

Ninguém começa a lutar de forma eficiente sem forma ou método. Para se desenvolver um alto nível de excelência as formas e métodos são necessários. Deve-se estudá-los e conhecê-los, ao mesmo tempo procurando ficar livres deles.

Assim, Scrum é o fundo libertário de quem conhece as suas práticas e métodos. Sabe usar diferentes métodos conforme as necessidades. Afinal, conhecendo a capacidade do corpo, o braço tem suas formas de movimento. As pernas não chutam em qualquer forma. A liberdade é limitada pelo que temos ao nosso dispor, pela nossa realidade.

Framework, método e música

2008-12-26

 Na produção musical, um artista busca fazer músicas que agradem ao seu público.

Alguns músicos gostam de se isolar, utilizam seu violão para testar acordes, vão anotando, revisando, enviam o material para um colega músico. Recebe sugestões de instrumentistas, altera o conteúdo, a forma, e por fim, dá se por satisfeito com sua produção. Eventualmente, esta música pode ser juntada a outras de sua produção e pode gravá-las em estúdio. Lançando assim mais um LP.

Outros músicos se reúnem com amigos, começam a improvisar, colaboram e vão anotando na mesa, em pedaços soltos de papel. Vão a bares e apresentam a públicos pequenos aqueles trabalhos inéditos. Veem a reação do público. Apresentam gravações a produtores, elaboram mais e assim fazem suas criações.

Em cada artista conhecido vemos manias, processos ou a falta deles, inspiração e produções diferentes.

Alguns artistas são aclamados pelo público, outros nem tanto. A qualidade da música que o artista apresenta ao público mostra dois componentes que se combinam em grandes sucessos.

O primeiro elemento é o talento dos músicos. Nos perguntamos: “Esta música é boa ?”. O público adora. A melodia é genial! Os versos, então…

O segundo é a produção da música. “Como foi gravada e como foi lançada ?”. Ela foi gravada com qualidade em estúdio de primeira linha. O som está de acordo com a proposta da música. A mídia de lançamento é de boa qualidade, com excelente arte gráfica. Os interpretes fizeram jus ao material.

Traduzindo esta alegoria para o mundo dos frameworks e metodologias, o músico com seu produtor seguindo certa rotina na criação estão de fato, utilizando uma metodologia. Esta metodologia pode atrapalhar o músico ou ajudá-lo na criação. Isto não determina se o músico vai conseguir fazer a música, e muito menos se a música vai ser boa.

Um framework como Scrum, determinaria apenas a necessidade de pontos de inspeção e adaptação. Isto poderia ser atingido testando músicas com platéias selecionadas, apresentando demos para determinados produtores que conhecem bem o mercado, etc. Com este feedback o artista poderia então alterar a música e evoluir o seu produto. Isto também não determina se o músico vai conseguir fazer a música, e também muito menos se a música vai ser boa.

Um framework como Scrum ajuda na medida em que o feedback ocorre mais cedo e continuamente, mas não faz a música ser boa. O que faz a música ser boa, em primeiro lugar, é o músico.

Em software, o trabalho de arquitetura é necessário. A metodologia te obrigará a trabalhar a arquitetura de uma determinada forma com determinados entregáveis. Scrum não te obriga a fazer arquitetura, arquitetura é parte do que é necessário ser feito, e portanto, fora do que um framework obriga. Em ambos os casos, alguém que seja bom arquiteto será necessário para fazer o software. Se não houver alguém bom em arquitetura para fazer o software, o software vai ficar ruim!

As metodologias nos lembram de tudo que é necessário para se fazer um software de qualidade. É preciso arquitetura, design, testes, etc. As metodologias obrigam um passo-a-passo que se propõem a garantir que tudo que é necessário para um software de qualidade vai ocorrer.

Scrum por outro lado, se traduz em práticas que vão ajudar os profissionais a fazer o que seus talentos os permitem, sem tentar amarrá-los. Ainda assim, a arquitetura precisa ser feita, o software tem que ser programado e o teste tem que ser feito.

Para fazer música são necessários bons músicos. Para fazer um bom software são necessários bons programadores. As metodologias nos lembram disso e para isso foram criadas. Nos obrigam a fazer tudo o que tem que ser feito e com isto nos amarram. E muitas vezes nos emperram, tirando o espaço para melhores músicas e criatividade.

Scrum não amarra a produção. É tarefa das pessoas lembrar que cada necessidade tem que ser endereçada com seu respectivo talento. A arquitetura pode ser simplesmente pensada, pode ser rabiscada no papel ou pode fazer parte de um documento formal. A necessidade de fazer arquitetura existe pela natureza do problema (fazer software).

Estudar metodologias é salutar e necessário aos mais jovens e inexperientes. Não para amarrá-los, mas para que eles tenham ciência do que é necessário. É o feijão com arroz de se fazer música.

E finalmente, para fazer boa música, o cara tem que ser bom! Quem se preza como músico precisa saber do seu riscado.

Não é uma pena… deve ser horrível quando isto acontece.

2008-12-16

 

Para inaugurar este blog, gostaria de fazer alguns comentários que são relacionados ao grande número de críticas a Scrum e também relacionados aos defensores que vêm Scrum como a nova bala-de-prata para fazer sistemas.

É provável que o fator mais importante relacionado ao surgimento de Scrum seja a epifania que tiveram alguns profissionais da área de TI de que eles tinham de fato um compromisso profissional ao realizar suas tarefas dia-a-dia.

Este compromisso profissional não pode ser entendido como as obrigações mundanas a que os profissionais de TI são submetidos. É um compromisso ético. É o entendimento de que está em suas mãos e possibilidades gerar mais valor do que é gerado.

Estes profissionais compreenderam, com muito trabalho e várias experiências falhas e sucedidas, que é necessário considerar conseqüências. É obrigação pensar no retorno que o seu trabalho traz. É obrigação informar claramente sobre riscos, ganhos, vantagens e desvantagens do fruto de seu trabalho. Acima de tudo, eles passaram a acreditar que independente das regras impostas pela sua indústria, ao se ter a opção de gerar mais valor e a de gerar menos valor, deve-se escolher os melhores frutos.

Um paralelo interessante pode ser traçado utilizando-se a profissão médica. O médico tem um compromisso ético com a saúde do paciente. Este compromisso tem que estar acima da imposição institucional ou da indústria. O médico deve receitar o melhor remédio, e não lhe pode ser imposto o que receitar ou como tratar o paciente.

O médico considera vários fatores ao tratar uma doença ou condição. Ele tem a obrigação de informar ao paciente dos riscos de linhas diferentes de atuação. Uma vez iniciado um tratamento, não consideramos que há como pressionar o médico a curar o paciente mais rápido.

Desta forma, o profissional da área de TI não pode seguir cegamente um processo de software, não será mero escravo das imposições do cliente ou de uma instituição sem pensar que deve agir honestamente. Daí vem a importância da transparência de Scrum. É obrigatório que as escolhas feitas sejam informadas. Os “riscos do tratamento” têm que estar claros. Se o diagnóstico é de difícil tratamento, isto tem que ser entendido pelos envolvidos no projeto. Os Stakeholders têm que saber o que se passa para ter sua influência representada de forma compatível.

Este é o pano de fundo de Scrum e dos métodos ágeis em geral. E independente das regras que surgiram após este ponto inicial, devem ser estes pontos que nos norteiam, e não as regras e práticas.

Uma analogia jurídica está na consideração do texto constitucional. A constituição fica acima das outras leis, é mais forte que estas. Em alguns casos, leis municipais ou estaduais complementam estas leis, ditam procedimentos, normatizam direitos e deveres. Em outros, estas leis são julgadas inconstitucionais, estão em conflito com algo mais básico e importante, e, portanto não podem valer.

Scrum não é uma metodologia. Scrum é a arte do possível, é um framework com regras simples de como trabalhar. Não vai te dizer como resolver problemas. O que Scrum tenta fazer é te ajudar a ter transparência, te ajudar a buscar a geração de valor.

De certa forma, é similar a grande frase da declaração de independência americana: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

É um direito inalienável “perseguir” a felicidade. Não é um direito inalienável tê-la.

Da mesma forma, devemos buscar gerar valor. Não necessariamente vamos conseguir.

A visão de que Scrum resolverá todos os seus problemas é um grande engano. Em primeiro lugar, Scrum é uma tentativa de evidenciar problemas. Resolvê-los caberá a cada um.

Outro dia li um artigo (http://alistair.cockburn.us/Why+can’t+people+deliver%3f) do Alistair Cockburn em que ele dizia que ter uma espada sem saber usá-la não o faria ganhar uma luta contra um exímio lutador de faca.

E é justamente nesta dimensão que está o centro da questão da maioria das críticas e defesas ferrenhas. Independente de suas práticas, você só vai curar doentes se souber e aplicar medicina. Só ganhará uma luta de espadas se for bom esgrimista (Samurais incluídos).

 Quando fiz o treinamento de ScrumMaster com o Ken Schwaber, tive a oportunidade de fazer várias perguntas capciosas a ele sobre situações específicas. Eram dilemas, problemas complicados que me pareciam não ser resolvidos de forma clara. Problemas que continuavam problemas.

A maior parte das respostas eram na forma de: “Pois é, que problemão que VOCÊ tem, hein ? Depois me conta como vocês fizeram.”;

E é isso aí. Sem mágica. Sem fórmulas, apenas mais obrigações e uma melhor consciência na nossa atuação.