Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Misconceptions About Scrum


I can’t count how many people claimed to me they “knew scrum” and applied it in their teams. When confronted with their way of working, I could indeed find some similarities, but above all several anti scrum practices.

I don’t say their work habits were bad or unsuited to their context, but I feel quite a cognitive dissonance when I realize that

  1. one says they practice scrum
  2. some practice of one is anti scrum

see “is not doing” vs “not having to do”.

Some of those issues might be due to the fact that scrum is constantly evolving and people don’t follow the same version of scrum. For instance, scrum has become #NoEstimate in 2020. It becomes another semantic debate around what is scrum, is scrum the last version of another one? Actually, my opinion is that scrum is the latest definition (static systems cognitive bias).

I strongly advise people to be coherent, and, still admitting that they are very efficient, clever etc, they should realize they are not practicing scrum.

I think that scrum suffers from having a great popularity, such that people want their ideas to be associated with this word, whatever the meaning of the method. I think this in unconscious, and that people really think they practice scrum.

remember that Scrum is a means to an end and not the end itself.


Also, remember the is/ought_problem. The discussion whether or not you are doing scrum are separate from the discussion whether or not scrum is appropriate for you.

All the velocity and user story stuffs are great, but they are not part of scrum, so using a tool that enforces them is totally ok. As long as it does not contradict scrum, this method can still be called scrum. But if at some point they contradict the scrum method, either one should consider adapting them, or realize they don’t do scrum anymore.

scrum does not suggest to use user stories

Concept généralement ajouté à la méthode scrum, mais ne faisant pas parti de la méthode (misconceptions about scrum).

Histoire racontant une interaction utilisateur qu’on cherche à remplir, elle est évaluée en points pour éviter les estimations optimistes

story points aren’t scrum

about the daily meeting

dailies are not about telling our live

In daily meetings, I often hear something like

  1. yesterday, I did some administrative stuff
  2. today, I have a lot of meetings

As stressed out in the scrum guide, the daily meeting is a mean to focus on progress toward the spring goal. The scrum method is centered around the common goal of the team.

Often, a suggested way to conduct the meeting is by asking the three questions :

  1. what did I do yesterday to progress toward the goal
  2. what impediment happened that prevented my progress toward the goal
  3. what will I do today to progress toward the goal

Unfortunately, those questions too often become

  1. what did I do yesterday
  2. what impediment happened
  3. what will I do today

I think this might due to the fact that we think we have to say something to appear productive. Someone saying “I pass” might be seen as a lazy person.

the three questions fallacy

The daily scrum is not a social daily. The purpose is not to talk about our day, but to focus on the common goal, committed towards the product owner.

We often see the following 3 questions asked during the daily meeting.

During the daily scrum, each team member answers the following three questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Are there any impediments in your way?


But in general, I realize that people follow this rule by the book and really talk about everything they did the day before.

time text
https://youtu.be/eyDSU8k6ITw&t=845.6s we don’t want the the stand-up meeting
https://youtu.be/eyDSU8k6ITw&t=849.04s that turns into a status meeting
https://youtu.be/eyDSU8k6ITw&t=850.959s where everybody just talks about
https://youtu.be/eyDSU8k6ITw&t=852.959s everything in the world that they did on
https://youtu.be/eyDSU8k6ITw&t=854.72s the past day for five minutes each and
https://youtu.be/eyDSU8k6ITw&t=856.48s you’re stuck there standing for
https://youtu.be/eyDSU8k6ITw&t=858.079s 57 minutes on the clock

from –

Actually, the 3 questions are not part of the scrum guides. What it says is:

The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work. This creates focus and improves self-management.


But if they were, they would be more like:

  1. what did I do yesterday related to our shared goal committed to our product owner
  2. what impediment did I encounter related to our shared goal committed to our product owner
  3. what will I do today related to our shared goal committed to our product owner

Misconception # 3:  The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to answer the three questions


Developers should be inspecting progress towards the Sprint Goal together and talking about how it’s going.


Daily Scrum is a frank discussion about progress and to determine whether the team needs to adapt its plan


Often when people bash Scrum, pay attention as it is often about an implementation of Scrum


Although you have a different implementation of Scrum, the rules of Scrum, as described in the Scrum Guide, still applies and should be respected.


all these fancy certificates doesn’t equal understanding


Initially, these three Daily Scrum questions were added to the Scrum Guide 2017 as an example of how the Scrum team members may inspect the progress toward the Sprint Goal. However, these three questions quickly became synonymous with the Daily Scrum. So now, it was all about answering these three questions, turning the Daily Scrum into a sort of status report meeting, with Developers waiting in line to “answer these three questions” to the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, or maybe even a stakeholder.


Instead, we want to understand whether we will meet the Sprint Goal. If the Scrum team’s progress is doubtful, given recent developments and learning, we want to take action to get back on track. Any form of a status report is a mere distraction and wasteful in that respect.


dailies and team size

Surfing on the wave of agile methods, and particularly scrum, we tend to borrow some useful practices, like the daily meeting It is considered that time boxing the meeting to 15 minutes is a good idea.

Yet, another aspect of the scrum method is that the team shall be quite small (10 or fewer). The value of 15 minutes is most likely calibrated on this number.

I can see daily meetings still restricted to 15 minutes for teams that grow above 15, giving less than a minute per person. I think this is counter-productive, as it gives people too few time to express themselves.

scrum uses user stories

The Basic unit of work defined in Scrum is User story


Yet actually,

story points aren’t scrum

To realize that stories are not part of scrum, take a look at the https://www.scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html and see if you find anything references to stories.

Notes linking here