Commercialism and politics

I was in a very interesting session at Agile2008, held by Rachel Davies and Angela Martin. The name of the session was “Mr Agile goes to Washington – politics in agile projects”. The session generated a lot of insight around positioning and face-saving, good and bad politics, and the fact that as soon as there is more than one person involved, there is politics.

There has been a lot of discussion in the agile community around the commercialization of Scrum. Some people even seem to dislike Scrum because of the commercialization. I like Scrum, but the commercialization worries me. This is because of the financial position people and organizations have taken in Scrum, and all that money depends on the success of Scrum. In the light of this, it is understandable that Scrum salesmen promises gold and green forests.

The potential scenario I see is that Scrum, as an instance of the class Production Management Frameworks, isn’t the most successful instance anymore. Some other, may it be Kanban pull systems or micro releases, proves easier and more successful.

What are then the odds that all the money invested in Scrum will say “Oh, there is a better way to do this that doesn’t require our training nor our consultants”? I would say that they are slim, at best, and all due to the fact that too much is invested in the Scrum-position.

Don’t get me wrong, I like both commercialization and Scrum, but one has to be careful with what to sell and how to sell it.


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