Scrum is More Than Standing Up and Burning Down

Adapting the Scrum methodology is one of the ways of being Agile. Scrum has defined its process and artifact elements. TL;DR: The success that our Scrum succeeds is into Doing Agile and going beyond Just Being Agile. This blog says that Scrum is definitely beyond Daily Stand-ups and Burn Down Charts and Technical Excellence is that one thing we MUST pay attention to.

Bharati Koot, Software Craftsperson at Nelkinda Software Craft Pvt Ltd
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by NNelkinda Software Craft Private Limited
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by Bharati Koot
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1 Yes, Stand-ups Are Essential

In Scrum, stand-ups are a daily routine in which scrum team gathers at a certain especially a fixed time, where each one speaks about current tasks and blockers if any. They are essential because they tell the current weather and update about yesterdays weather. In short, they tell us where we are in terms of work items progress and if there are any blockers who need attention in order to keep the goal of the sprint intact. They are time-boxed and shall be driven ideally by everyone attending the ceremony.

2 And, Not Denying The Burn Down Charts / Graphs

Burn down chart is a tool which is used usually during stand-ups (and otherwise as well) to know how much work has been completed and where we are in terms of successful sprint completion. We can say it as a forecasting graph or tool as it gives us a probable idea of how we are doing in the ongoing Sprint. They give the correct picture of completed tasks vs remaining tasks planned in the ongoing Sprint and hence forecast the health of the overall release.

Thus burn down charts are an essential part of measuring and knowing the progress of the work items if used effectively by everyone. However, they may cause being used as a tool for micromanagement.

Don't "Burn Down" during stand-ups.
"Burn Down" before stand-ups so that correct information is available for the entire team.

3 Getting Things Done (Well)!

Getting things DONE and getting things DONE WELL are critically essential things as this gives the confidence that the things are going to work in place, on time. We want the work items are completely DONE and they are actually DONE DONE as per Definition of Done and ready for the next stage.

Stand-ups give us the status of how far we are from the Done stage. And, the burn down chart is also mere a measure of the same. Hence, both can showcase the status but can not get the things actually done.
To get things done on time we need certain excellence and commitment from the teams.

4 Scrum Might Fail, When?

Scrum is an Agile Software Development methodology and defines various roles, workflows, and artifacts in order to establish this methodology. However, often some of the Agile principles are overlooked or ignored while following the Scrum. And, organizations fail because they are 'being Agile' but not 'doing Agile'. The process elements defined by Scrum are not sufficient in order to adhere to Agile Principles completely. Thus after some initial success, it seems that Scrum is not working and the team struggles through it. But we can't expect the success of Agile project only based on ceremonies.

5 Let's Pay Attention to the 9th Agile Principle!

While the process elements are essential, Technical Excellence is something without which success of the project is not guaranteed. There are teams who unknowingly focus on process part and assume that they are becoming Agile. That is one part of being Agile that Scrum defines but there is something that one of the Agile principles says, which the 9th Agile Principle.

Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
9th Agile Principle from the [Agile Principles]

Yes, exactly, this is one of the principles that is missed out while implementing Scrum in teams. They all do fine with standing up and burning down, however, without Technical Excellence, it's hard to achieve the Sprint goal and ultimately the release goal. Today is the world of changing technologies and automation. The teams have to have cross-functional skills and continuous enhancement in the skill base. They should strive to beyond T-shaped skills.
So, basically, to gain true Agility, teams should also have Technical Agility along with Process Agility. But, Scrum does not define technical activities to achieve this. And, due to lack of Technical Excellence often Scrum fails or becomes partial Scrum.

6 What is Technical Excellence?

The key parts of Technical Excellence are:

7 How do we Enhance Technical Agility?

We can utilize some of the process elements to help Technical Excellence and we can identify a few mechanisms for the same.

8 But, What Significantly Matters:

We learned that beyond standing up and burning down, Scrum teams shall also pay attention to Technical Excellence. However, in the end, what matters is the Software, the product that goes in the Market, that's why we value "Working Software". Neither process alone, nor Technical Excellence alone is going to make that happen. They should go hand-in-hand. So for the "Working Software" being able to ship in the market the process elements and Technical Excellence both are quite equally important.

Figure 8-1: Working Software Matters The Most (Image source: