Project Management

Scrum on Mars

From the Scrumptious Blog
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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Scrum on Mars

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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!
Sante Vergini Signature

Posted on: May 31, 2019 10:17 PM | Permalink

Comments (20)

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Very interesting 👍🏻

Interesting article, I like how you introduced the Product Owner with a finishing touch!

Great imagination, Sante. Read the whole post with a smile on my face.

Good stuff, and with a Mars category :)

Thanks Andrew. I try and wangle the cosmos in there when possible.

Thanks Arunabha and Ganesh.

I'm happy it made you smile Amitabh.

I can't imagine a stand-up on Mars haha - Good One Mate !

@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 ;-)

Quite Interesting Post. Thanks..

@Sante, slam dunk answer :-) Good to see you back at it mate.

A great piece as always Sante, thank you

Great job, as usual! Obrigado, Sante!

Thanks Shadav, Abolfazi, Julie and Guilherme.

Very interesting read

Thanks Justus.

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!

That's great William. I hope you have some interesting reading ahead. Thanks.

The good news is the 2-week standard timebox is still applicable! There's just more of them in a year :)

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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