January 28, 2008

How Scrum Spreads - The Scrum Viral Life Cycle

I've been watching the whole Scrum thing for a while now, seeing how it's moved from one organisation to another. It reminds me of something that I've been struggling to put my finger on.

Last night it hit me, though, after I saw this online presentation entitled Learn Scrum in 5 Minutes.

Scrum is a virus: and a pretty virulent one at that, too.

I'm not an expert on viruses and how they spread, but from the basics I learned in school, a think a virus goes through a distinct lifecycle, which is mirrored by Scrum.


A comparison of the viral and Scrum lifecycle

If we were to model the propagation of a virus, I'm sure the speed at which it infects and replicates itself in each host must be a factor in how quickly it can spread.

Now, let's be brutally honest - Scrum is not exactly rocket science. It shouldn't take long to get a practical handle on the key principles and practices. 5 minutes might be pushing it - but you can certainly figure most of it out in, say, a sprint or two.

And this might explain why it has spread further and faster than other approaches that take a little longer to master - like build automation or automated acceptance testing. Okay, so I probably shouldn't single out Scrum. You could just as readily argue that the same is true of use cases vs. OOA/D.

But I thought scrum would make a nice illustration of this process. Just for jolly.

Whether you can innoculate yourself against Scrum by deliberately infecting yourself with a milder form of the virus - say, The Planning Game - is beyond the scope of this blog post.



Posted 2 weeks, 4 days ago on January 28, 2008