A bunch of us were talking recently about Scrum and its benefits, and I was probably being overly negative and sceptical, especially since I know very little about it. But I didn’t like the answer I got when I asked the question “What kinds of domains is Scrum is especially good for, and what _doesn’t_ it work so well for?” The answer was, roughly: “You can apply Scrum to anything!” Uh-oh.
It makes me nervous when I hear that kind of claim, for a couple of reasons. First, it makes me worry that we’ve got a solution style that isn’t about listening to the problem (especially since I believe that different kinds of software dev can be deeply different, as I’ve argued before). Secondly, it makes me wonder what happens if Scrum is tried in some area and fails badly or doesn’t seem to apply; do we conclude that Scrum has limits, or do we say something like “Well, you see, they didn’t apply Scrum thoroughly enough!”. (At the risk of making a bad and cranky joke, this kind of response is truly “agile”.) There’s nothing so useful as a well-documented failure, or a falsifiable management theory.
Anyway, having already made it clear up front that I know nothing about the subject matter I’m spouting off about, it’s time to read a book. Recommendations for the single perfect Scrum book are welcomed.