Project Management

Scrum on Mars

From the Scrumptious Blog
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Scrum is the most popular framework used within an agile environment to convert complex problems into valuable products and services. In this blog, we will examine all things Scrum to shed light on this wonderful organizational tool that is sweeping the globe. There will be engaging articles, interviews with experts and Q&A's. Are you ready to take the red pill? Then please join me on a fascinating journey down the rabbit hole, and into the world of Scrum.

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Once upon a time, in a galaxy not so far away, was a planet named Mars. A company called SpaceX landed the first humans there and colonized the planet. Among the many initiatives to deliver value were some Lean, Kanban and Scrum projects. One lucky Martian was appointed as the Scrum Master and decided that Scrum would be as successful on Mars as it had been on Earth.
 
Can Scrum be as successful on Mars? Well if you look at projects simply, very simply, they can be broken up into components that deliver predominantly: value and quality. In most of my short research on this topic, "value" gets a big thumbs up. But what about "quality"? That has some mixed reviews. Lean and Kanban are more about quality and reducing defects than Scrum, which leans (no pun intended) to the value end of the scale

Typically, this wouldn't be an issue. Businesses and customers make trade-offs all the time between quality and value, and in some cases, so do project managers, scrum masters and product owners.
 
But newsflash: we are talking about Mars! A reduction in quality by even 1% could mean the difference between life and death. With such dire consequences, project teams may rely more on Lean/Kanban to reduce defects and waste. So, does Scrum have a place in such a hostile environment? Well, in my opinion, yes it does. Projects can be divided into features that focus on quality, or value, or a combination of both. Since all of these project frameworks use what is essentially a backlog, work can be picked up utilizing whatever framework is appropriate to its feature/story's sensitivity to quality or value, then taken through that framework's system (flow, iteration etc.).
 
Scrum, of course, can be used for many other value-focused outcomes such as daily stand-ups, retrospectives and backlog grooming. Grooming or refining the backlog is not only a Scrum activity, but the term "grooming the product backlog" was first used by Mike Cohn in 2005 when talking about Scrum, and in 2011 made its way as an official practice within the Scrum Guide.
 
So, the next time you give it some thought, try and imagine how Scrum might be used on Mars. Put yourself in the shoes of that Martian Scrum Master, because the day will come when they are visited by a very special guest from Venus: the Product Owner.
 


Thank you for your interest in the Scrumptious blog. If you have any ideas for Scrum topics, please message me here. Until next time, remember, projects can be Scrumptious!
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Posted on: May 31, 2019 10:17 PM | Permalink

Comments (20)

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Arunabha Bhattacharjee Functional Manager| HERE Technologies Thane (W), Maharashtra, India
Very interesting 👍🏻

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Ganesh Mahalingam Program Leader - PMP, CSM, AWS Certified, PG in AI & ML Chennai, Tn, India
Interesting article, I like how you introduced the Product Owner with a finishing touch!

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Amitabh Pathak Head of Business Operations| BVS Trans Tech India
Great imagination, Sante. Read the whole post with a smile on my face.

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Drew Craig Coach, Practitioner, Consultant, Humanist| North Highland Philadelphia, Pa, USA
Good stuff, and with a Mars category :)

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Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Thanks Andrew. I try and wangle the cosmos in there when possible.

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Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Thanks Arunabha and Ganesh.

I'm happy it made you smile Amitabh.

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Rami Kaibni
Community Champion
Senior Projects Manager | Field & Marten Associates New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
I can't imagine a stand-up on Mars haha - Good One Mate !

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Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
@Rami, standing up should be easier my friend with 1/3 the gravity lol.

But if you want to Sprint, now that is another matter ;-)

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SHADAV MOHAMMAD ANSARI IT MANAGER| CODE INC New Delhi, Delhi, India
Quite Interesting Post. Thanks..

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Rami Kaibni
Community Champion
Senior Projects Manager | Field & Marten Associates New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
@Sante, slam dunk answer :-) Good to see you back at it mate.

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Abolfazl Yousefi Darestani Manager, Quality and Continuous Improvement| Hörmann-TNR Industrial Doors Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Interesting. Thank you

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Julie Ann Jones Lincs, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
A great piece as always Sante, thank you

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Guilherme Caloba Production Engineer| PETROBRAS Rio De Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Great job, as usual! Obrigado, Sante!

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Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Thanks Shadav, Abolfazi, Julie and Guilherme.

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Justus N Scrum Master| BCBSTX Arlington, Tx, USA
Very interesting read

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Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Thanks Justus.

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William Kling LEAD PROJECT MANAGER| Lumen Fircrest, Wa, USA
Very interesting, Sante. I don't know much about Scrum, but the way you framed your article really pulled me in. I will be reading more!

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Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
That's great William. I hope you have some interesting reading ahead. Thanks.

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Christopher Reynolds Project Manager| MIGSO|PCUBED Spring, Tx, USA
The good news is the 2-week standard timebox is still applicable! There's just more of them in a year :)

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Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hi Christopher, we might need 4-week sprints on Mars since a year there is almost twice as long as Earth ;-)

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