People familiar with Scrum, XP, and Agile know that proponents of these methodologies often make baseless and ludicrous claims while they shamelessly hype their products.
But even by these low standards, Jeff Sutherland goes over the top with his recent blog posting, “A Good ScrumMaster is Hard to Find”.
In this article, he is hyping two things:
1) Scrum in general
and 2) A “buddy” of his he is trying to find a job for.
The fact that he uses the #1 paragraph first to blindside his audience into not realizing it’s a sales pitch for #2 is egregious enough.
But how he does #1 is patently ridiculous. He states:
“Really good ScrumMasters are hard to find because they get promoted to VP of Engineering or head of a business unit or run off and start their own company. Why? The math is simple. As soon as someone demonstrates s/he gets twice the results of anyone else in the company, management starts the promotion process. Because they are experts in leading cross functional teams, they can take on anything in the company.” — Jeff Sutherland
Let’s look at the first sentence and replace ScrumMasters with $X:
“Really good $X are hard to find because they get promoted to VP of Engineering or head of a business unit or run off and start their own company. Why? The math is simple. As soon as someone demonstrates s/he gets twice the results of anyone else in the company, management starts the promotion process. Because they are experts in leading cross functional teams, they can take on anything in the company.“
Is there any valid substitution for $X that makes this statement true? Engineer? Manager? As soon as somone demonstrates they get twice the results of anyone else in the company, now it’s fait accompli that management starts the promotion process? That is laughable.
And what about “twice the results” to begin with? Who says Scrum will give you twice the results? With slight-of-hand reminiscent of Uri Geller, Sutherland smoothly slides that in and dresses it up as if it’s been “shown” by math.
It’s wishful thinking but it isn’t a fact.
If someone substituted “Stanford MBA” for $X, and Stanford ran that ad, they would be sued in a heartbeat for blatantly false advertising, and those stanford MBA’s have a better chance than most of leading a business unit.
I won’t even bother with “Because they are experts in leading cross functional teams, they can take on anything in the company.” because that is ludicrous even to the casual observer. Now these ScrumMeisters are able to become CFO, CEO, any position in the company at all, ALL BECAUSE they got certified? Wow! Can the BBB please investigate them now?
The fact that Sutherland blithely throws out these steaming piles of wisdom, and has the gall to say “The math is simple” while giving NO supporting math AT ALL, shows that Scrum is indeed very simple.
It’s a Snake Oil Marketing Scam, with pyramidal “Certifications” merely to line the pockets of the founders, while they scream out huge promises that no credible person could possibly believe.
If you look at nearly the entire “Pro Agile” webring, with all the “many positive statements” about Scrum and XP, they almost ALL are invariably are selling “Scrum Certifications”, “XP Coaching” or some other way to make money from the “Agile Goldrush”.
Yet few people seem to notice that all these promises are coming from Salesmen — not impartial observers!
Next time you check out an “Pro Agile” website note what the site is selling — it will almost always be something.
Clearly everything stated by these Scrum, XP and Agile Salesmen must be taken with copious amounts of powdered NaCL, as they are wont to say whatever they think their gullible audience wants to hear.
In a future Blowhard Watch we will take a look at some other less than salient aspects of the Scrum marketing machine, but that’s all the stomach I have for today.
Sutherlands original article is here for your edification.
DISCLAIMER: All the statements in this article are MY OPINION ONLY, the conclusions the reader can draw for themselves. I have retained a copy of Jeff’s original article if it “changes” over time.