Mark Pearl

Where did Scrumagalo come from?

In South Africa we have a language called Fanagalo. Fanagalo was a simplified language based on Zulu, English & Afrikaans. It gave a bunch of people from different backgrounds enough common terms to communicate - but at a very basic level.

Scrumagalo is a word I have coined to describe the language organizations use when they are ‘agile’ at a superficial level. With the current popularity of scrum penetrating the corporate sector, most of these organizations appear to be scrum practitioners. Often when you hear people in these organizations talk to each other it sounds like they practice scrum - they do sprints, user stories, stand ups and have product owners.

On deeper inspection it appears that there is very little correlation between the actual meaning of the word and their organizational meaning of the word. More often than not, sprints happen every two weeks - and they still release software every two years. User stories are pages and pages of non-user centered requirements and stand ups are hour long management meetings around a boardroom table. Product owners manage the development teams in much the same way that a Dev Manager would in a traditional organization.

Take home from this…

Words are important. When you use a word, try and understand what it means. There is a difference between a sprint and an iteration. Product Managers are not Project Managers or Dev Managers, they are something different. User stories are… user centered requirements, not any type of requirement. Understanding the word may just lead to a deeper understanding of that particular methodology.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Want to get my personal insights on what I learn as I learn it? Subscribe now!