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!