November 19, 2009 Leave a comment
As an agile methodologies SCRUM is pretty simple to follow. There are basically 3 roles , 4 ceremonies and small bunch of practices. So why does it work? let me take a game theory perspective to the how, in order the explain the why.
Sprints: Deliver often!
A sprint is a unit of time (in our team is 2 weeks) in which the team plans and delivers an increment of the product that provides value to the customer. Once a sprint finishes a new one starts, the 4 SCRUM ceremonies are held within one sprint.
Classic waterfall projects tend towards a big bang approach to delivery. For the customer and the supplier, it leaves a door open to last minute surprises: “this is not what I ask for, it is going a bit late, I am not paying you, we had to cut that feature…” This might be represented as deflections by both sides (or players in a prisoner’s dilemma).
Tricking the other side into doing their part without you doing yours, (e.g. increasing your margin by cutting test effort and delivering bug-ridden software) can be more appealing if the players are not likely to meet again (or at least not in the near future).
However, if these interactions are more frequent and longer lasting, the benefits of ongoing collaboration become more attractive. This approach to fostering collaboration is well argued by Axelrod and it is implemented by scrum in the ‘sprint’ concept.