Medium is a great place to discover articles. There is a lot of content around shipping software and product management. Mostly really opinionated stuff. I searched for “scrum” and it returned “Ditching Scrum for Kanban”, “Why SCRUM Backlogs lead to bad Product Decisions”, “Scrum does not work here in Asia” and “Scrum: The Best Micromanagement Tool Around”. I assume these titles were chosen to attract readers and hopefully (I didn’t read all of those pieces) the content is a bit more nuanced than their titles.

In fact: everyone has their own approach. No one holds the keys. There is no silver bullet. This means that at no single company, people are 100% happy about the way stuff is done. You are probably spending lots of time thinking about things that didn’t go as planned to try and fix them. If you’re drowning and something that looks like a solid piece of wood floats by, you’re going to grab it. Only to find out it is a short term solution and there is no such thing as the perfect approach.

One of the backbones of scrum and agile is “inspect and adapt”. Those two belong together. Just trying solutions based on a couple of blogposts is adapting without really understanding why things are happening.

I don’t have a solution that will work. There is no universal solution. Just as you are crafting a product, your team needs a custom, well thought trough and designed methodology. It needs a leader that will hold the way work is done to a high standard. It needs a leader who is constantly making changes, based on careful inspections and observations.

Questions can trigger thinking. They help you to re-evaluate things. Take the time to inspect, instead of just throwing solutions at your team. Here are some that could help you in this process:

  • Can you draw the complete process for shipping a product or feature, with all stakeholders?
  • How would you evaluate your rate of execution?
  • What things can be improved in the preparation of work?
  • How are goals set in advance? Who is involved in this process?
  • What kind of meetings are needed to get work properly prepared?
  • What percentage of your estimations is correct? Do you measure?
  • What kind of information does the team need to know to get started?
  • What are the frequently asked questions by the team while working on new features?
  • What is the level of quality?
  • How many times do you have to review a feature before it can hit production?
  • Who is involved in what stage of a feature?
  • Which part of building a feature takes the longest to complete (planning, design, building, test, deployment)?
  • What are things that are disturbing the team(s) while they are working on new features?
  • How are the teams formed, does each team has the resources they need in order to go at 200%?