Event-Driven vs Polling

We had a short discussion in the office about my post about the difference between Scrum and Integrity.
The discussion was:

“I don’t understand, there is no difference, we do exactly the same things in Scrum and in Integrity. The Customer will know after the sprint what we managed to do.”

This is exactly the difference. The customer will know only AFTER the sprint, when there is nothing left to do except find excuses why we didn’t meet our commitments. I must point out that scrum and integrity don’t clash and they work together well. But the focus is altogether different. Scrum is about how we, the pork-developers, can perform in a complex and changing environment. The customer/manager can come into our den and look at the Burn-Down Chart (What?! you don’t know how to read it?), and know where we are. That is their responsibility, not ours. Leave us alone to do our jobs.

Integrity is about responsibility. We know that you will do your best to get the job done. But we can’t afford to wait until the end of the sprint to tell the customer, “Sorry, we are developers and we did our best”. This doesn’t cut it. Excuses are cheap. Be a man and tell everyone involved that we won’t make our commitments as soon as you can. (Yes, I know that you still believe that in 5 hours you will be able to finish 50% of the tasks, but in reality you know we can’t)

Guess what, once you start doing that, your managers and customers will be able to make a decision in time, and that will allow them to help you, You the developer to keep your commitments.

This is the reason that we don’t allow to warn about ‘not making it’ a day or two before the deadline, we have to get the warnings way before, that will allow the customer and the management to help reach our goals.

The astute reader will notice that using Scrum, the customer/manager must poll the development team while Integrity is an event-driven process. We all know that polling wastes more time and energy then event-driven systems.

  1. “We all know that polling wastes more time and energy than event-driven systems.” Not even true, even if applicable, and not even applicable either.

    Anyway, Scrum info production is about /publishing/, not polling. Every day at the daily Scrum, everyone proactively reports where they are, where they’re going, and what’s in their way.

    Perfect? No. But openness leads to trust; trust leads to safety; safety leads to integrity.

  2. Ron,
    Openness is an important value.
    I have, perhaps, shown a way to be open with the ‘chickens’ with your customers and management.

    Here is how: As soon as you see that you cannot fulfill your commitment, tell them that.

    Let the management help you get your job done. They might have a solution.
    I have seen many teams who know that they won’t be able to complete the sprint, but won’t tell management (they are scared, it seems unprofessional, etc) they try to fix it themselves until the last minute and then tell management – sorry we just couldn’t do it, and feel ok about it.

    It is NOT ok. It is like setting up a meeting, being stuck in traffic and knowing that you are going to be 20 minutes late and not telling anyone about it. Everyone else must wait for you. Tell them, tell them that you are going to be 20 minutes late. Have integrity.

    Otherwise, the only other way that the manager can help you, is if he keeps polling and asking you if you are going to make it on time. That is annoying and wastes both the managers and developers energy.

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