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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Oct 23, 2020

This week you’re in for a treat (or trick)! It’s the Agile Coaches’ Corner special Halloween edition episode! Joining Dan for this spooktacular episode is frequent guest host, Sam Falco. Together, they will be exploring the Scrum treehouse of horrors!


Throughout their careers, both Dan and Sam have both experienced their fair share of horrific Scrum experiences. So, what better way to spend Halloween than to share some bone-chilling Scrum horror stories? From failing your sprint goal to poor planning and beyond, come join Dan and Sam by the campfire to hear some Scrum horror stories that will leave you shaking!


Key Takeaways

Bone-chilling Scrum horror stories:

A team that is not allowed to plan correctly

A team that doesn’t understand the concept of the sprint goal being different from the sprint scope

Failing your sprint goal!

Planning a sprint to 100% capacity and then getting a new request by a customer last minute (which leads to a spiral of frustration, bad morale, inability to deliver, and eventually, a huge quality problem)

When a team can’t cut scope and can’t cut time so they cut corners

Disrupted work which causes bugs to begin to be let through

When Scrum becomes a mechanism for developer abuse instead of a tool for the team/s to manage their work and deliver a higher return on investment

Hearing: “I thought Scrum was just a way of churning through requirements in two-week sprints.”

A bad culture built off ego and pressure

A manager that berates the team and tries to control them through power and fear

A manager that disrupts the team and creates a toxic environment with poor morale

A system based on fear with an emphasis on simply wanting to “look good” and not in supporting a culture of safety

Waterfalling through an 18-sprint project (with this, there is no room for improvement, adaptation, and iteration; the team/s can’t experiment their way to a valuable outcome because they’re simply being given a list of tasks to accomplish rather than being able to use their imagination and creativity to solve cool problems)

Not to fear about these Scrum horror stories — there’s still hope!

In most cases, a project is never unrecoverable; You can start building trust with stakeholders with just a little bit of openness (and by making sure to not point fingers or cast blame)

Honesty breeds more honesty — be as honest and transparent as possible!


Mentioned in this Episode:

Dark Scrum — Ron Jeffries

Live AgileThought Community Event: “Agile Heard Around the World” with Special Guests — Oct. 29th

Challenger: The Final Flight (2020 Series, Netflix)


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