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agile,scrum,lean,project mgmt.,kanban

Some Day Kanban Will Fail 75% of the Time

Yesterday I had a bit of an argument on Twitter about differences between Scrum and Kanban. Personally I don't care which is better than the other, because I believe that all models are wrong, but some are useful. And both Scrum and Kanban can be useful, given a certain context.

In yesterday's keynote speech at the Scrum Gathering in Orlando Jeff Sutherland said he had seen teams that were "doing Scrum" while they didn't even have a backlog. And there are reports of "Scrum teams" not practicing daily standup meetings, and teams not delivering a new product release every week.

These are not Scrum teams. They are ScrumBut teams. They do Scrum, *but* without some of the key ingredients.

Unfortunately, some people arguing against Scrum include these ScrumBut teams in their evaluations of the "high failure rate" of Scrum. They love quoting that "at least 75 percent of Scrum implementations fail." And I think "Yes of course, 75% fails when that includes the teams that don't understand what they're doing."

I believe that right now Kanban doesn't suffer from this problem. Kanban doesn't have a high failure rate because Kanban is still at the start of its adoption curve. Only very smart people like David Anderson and Karl Scotland are practicing it. And they know how to do it right!

But just wait a few years and see. When idiots like me get their hands on Kanban, we will start implementing KanbanButs, but we'll be calling it Kanban. We will have absolutely no idea what we're doing, because value stream mapping is not as simple as story point estimation. And we will introduce "Kanban teams" without limited WIP, or "Kanban teams" without a vizualized workflow.

Then the world will see a 75% failure rate of "Kanban" implementations.

And then there will be a great new software development method called Bonkiborki (which is the Mongolean word for 42). And I will have invented it. And it will have a much higher success rate than Scrum and Kanban, because I will be the only one who knows how to do it right.

(image by Misserion)

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