The software and agile worlds are full of analogies. Some good, some funny, some dangerously misleading. I suppose I’ll add one of my own to get this blog kicked off:
Scrum is like a bow tie; waterfall is like a straight tie.
When I first decided to sport the bow tie on a regular basis, I spent a good amount of time learning how to tie it in the first place. I couldn’t just coast through some simple sketch of a half-windsor like I did with a straight tie in 6th grade. Bow ties take some training. I watched youtube videos for about an hour. But a funny thing happens once you get it the first time – you get it. After you get it once, every knot comes out perfect after that. It becomes second nature very quickly. Unlike the straight tie where we might need multiple attempts trying to get that knot to look just right (and there are so many variations in knots that you never can quite tell ahead of time which one will look best), the bow tie is repeatable. Plus it’s just more fun than boring old straight ties.
Just like Scrum. You have to know the basics, you have to get some training. You can’t just coast along like you can on a waterfall project. But once you get it, it quickly becomes habit. I couldn’t imagine being on a innovative project and not working in sprints. With scrum, there is less variation – the sprint timebox is repetitive and reduces all those bad [waterfall] knots that just don’t turn out correctly. Every step of the way you get to monitor and sample your product.
And the most important part: Scrum is more fun.