I was talking with someone about Scrum and other methodologies the other day and he said something like this: “all methodologies are like cookbooks, you don’t use all the recipies – in fact implementing them to the letter is not good, you should skip some parts“. It then dawned on me – and I quickly pointed it out – that Scrum is so simple there is hardly anything to skip.

If you look at the hard, “methodology-ish” bits then Scrum is just three roles (Team, Product Owner, Scrum Master), three meetings (Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review) and three lists to maintain (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog – with tasks and burndown chart – and Impediments). Not much to throw out – and nothing that would make any sense to.

I can, however, very much understand that people with experience in traditional project management approach are wary of implementing a methodology in full. PMBOK has a few hundred pages, RUP is so complex just understanding it takes ages and Prince-2 smells of centuries-old british bureacracy it was created for. All call for complex documentation and processes, all assume static models and formalized communication.

Indeed, the burden they call for can almost kill all the productivity in an organization. No wonder people learned the hard way that it is better not to follow everything those heavy books prescribed.