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Open Space Notes: If Scrum Fails, What Went Wrong?


It is 2012 and Scrum is no longer the leading (Agile) development framework.

What did we do wrong?


One of the things that we want to mitigate before starting the sprint is our risks. In order to do it, instead of asking the team "what are your risks?", which usually creates poor results, I am using a technique that is based on a change in the mind set. I ask them the premortum question (AKA TMQ, Time Machine Question). I ask the team to look at the tasks for the incoming sprint and imagine that this meeting is the review meeting and we have nothing to present from this list, that they failed to do even a single task. Then I asked them: "What went wrong?"

By changing this mind set a LOT of things raised. The team writes it on the team's wall and once done, we have a list of risks that we need to avoid.

My intention was to do the same for Scrum.


Here are the issues that were raised:

  • Scrum did not evolve.
  • Scrum did not keep up with new ideas and improvements.
  • Scrum was too vague, thus without proper practices.
  • Lack of trainers caused companies to assimilate Scrum in a wrong way and then reject it.
  • No solutions were provided by Scrum regarding the way planning should be done.
  • Insisting on different solutions cause the community to create two alliances.
  • Mixed messages were communicated to the community.
  • Companies had confusion regarding their ability to start assimilating Scrum (prerequisites).
  • There was no maturity-level model


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