Dirk Riehle's Industry and Research Publications

Why I still teach Scrum

Scrum is an agile method (framework) that when instantiated can be rather ornate. Most developers, when I talk to them, tell me that when given a choice they would not be doing Scrum. While Scrum may have felt much lighter than the competition back in the nineties, today it weighs in as rather heavy.

Given this, I wanted to reflect on why I still teach Scrum (and have a blog post to point any of my students to).

It is really quite simple. Experienced people in well-working teams and/or functional working cultures don’t need Scrum. Scrum is great for anyone who doesn’t know how to go about software development yet (e.g. students facing their first team project) or for people with divergent experiences and backgrounds (e.g. reshuffled teams, corporate mergers). By taking everyone by the hand and having a method or process for every step along the way, Scrum can help build teams while picking up some initial speed.

I think the metaphor of training wheels is apt. You can get started with Scrum, but you will want to get rid of it as soon as you can.



  1. Dirk Riehle Avatar

    Hi Marco, I think I worded this badly. With blog post for students I meant this one. As to the underlying issues, I explained them a bit better here: https://dirkriehle.com/2018/10/01/clarification-of-why-i-still-teach-scrum/

  2. […] challenges of communication and coordination in software engineering work well. In a prior post on Why I Still Teach Scrum I had made a cryptic remark to that end and through various channels was asked to clarify the […]

  3. Marco Avatar

    I’m interested in that blog post you are pointing your students to! Can you share the link with us?

  4. Erich Meier Avatar
    Erich Meier

    While I agree that Scrum is good for getting started and certainly better than pretending to follow a formal process and being chaotic in reality, I wonder what you would rather recommend?

    1. Dirk Riehle Avatar

      From my experience of talking to companies, teams quickly let go of too much process and move to a combination of Kanban + CI/CD pipeline. I’m not sure there is a name for it, and there is plenty of variety. Larger organisations are also starting to add inner source to reintroduce a component quality perspective, which makes a lot of sense to me, but is not yet wide-spread.

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