Project Management

5 phrases that drive Scrum Masters crazy

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If you’re part of an Agile project, which uses #Scrum framework, you must’ve heard at least one of these phrases that makes Scrum Masters grind their teeth and fill in their niko-niko calendar with angry faces. If you want to know why, here is my top 5:

“How many days equal a story point?” Story points, much like T-shirt sizes (method), are a measure of complexity. They show how complex a story is to implement. There is no direct mapping or any other formal mapping to man-days or man-hours. Fact is, in practice, many people can’t operate with this concept, so involuntarily they end up making a mapping to hours or ideal working days.

 “Scrum’s just theory”. No, Scrum is a practical framework for implementing agile development. Simply put: Agile is a methodology based on 4 values and 12 principles (theory), while Scrum, as any other framework in this world, is showing you a (healthy) way of doing things. It’s also lightweight (3 roles, 3 artefacts, 4 events) so there’s no excuse in saying: “Yeah, we work sort of scrum, that is we do just the daily stand-ups”. You either apply it all or stop pretending.

We have a technical debt” – To whom? There is no such thing in Scrum as a hardening #sprint – it’s like saying: we brushed a few things under the carpet and now we need one more sprint to come clean. In 2017, The Scrum Guide from, formally introduced the fact that each sprint should have at least one improvement item in its backlog. The fact that you may need to refactor some area to improve performance, well that’s a user story in itself.

There’s no documentation, we worked agile”. Agile doesn’t imply the absence of documentation. It just says it will be done right on time and not so extensive. By no means, does working #agile mean that you don’t document anything. In fact, documentation should be part of the Definition of Done OR have “updating documentation” as a recurring user story in each sprint.

 (during sprint planning) “What’s this user story about?” As with any other meeting, when you receive an agenda, it is common sense to go through it or any other document received that makes the scope of the meeting. Using the sprint planning for a first-time lecture diminishes the effectiveness of this meeting.

Tell me, Scrum Masters, what phrase would make it to your top 5?

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