Literal Problems

Them: “We do scrum, we have 2 hour planning and a standup once a week for two hours.”

Developer: 🤔

And in that moment, the developer decided the company was clueless about software development processes.

Why? Because the Project Manager used words that did no mean what they thought they meant. Developers are finicky literal creatures. Their worldviews can tend towards black and white because to a computer there isn’t such a thing as ‘figuratively true’. A state is either true or it’s false, there is no in-between (this will not age well if Quantum Computing becomes mainstream).

Scrum has four ceremonies held at very specific intervals; and even the End Note in the Scrum guide says,

“Scrum is free and offered in this Guide. Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and rules are immutable and although implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum. Scrum exists only in its entirety and functions well as a container for other techniques, methodologies, and practices.”

This is a rigidness a developer loves and a business person hates. For things a developer ‘knows’ about, they judge others competencies on using words as their meaning states. It’s an interesting profession, to be sure, and developers are so much fun at parties. The concept of “Nerd Sniping” is predicated entirely on developers exposing some incongruity in the world and sucking others in to the problem to think about.

But, if you want for your developers to respect and listen to you, you may have to give a little bit on some of these points.

There are two ways out if you care what your developers think of you:

  1. Don’t call what you’re doing Scrum if you’re not following the guide to a T;
  2. Risk alienating your developers and calling your process “scrum”

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