If What You are Doing Works, Does the Label Really Matter?

Recently I had a brief messenger chat with a former co-worker that they determined they were actually using Scrum-ban instead of Kanban.  The timing of this chat coincided when I seemed to be coming across a multitude of discussions about what is or is not in Scrum, what is or is not Kanban and so on.

My initial response was “is what you are doing working?“.  Her response was, “yes“.

My response, of course, then was “so why does it matter?”

I do understand the desire to have these processes defined but I’ve never much been a fan of labeling.  Being “Agile” isn’t about using Scrum, Kanban, Lean or any other tool/process, it’s about being dedicated to empirical processes that work within the context.  I also understand the dangers of  “Agile” being tarnished by misused practices but by and large solving problems and rejecting the status quo are what really matters at the end of the day.

As an example, a few months ago a team member who was recently kicked off the team BY the team, decided it was worth his time to prove a point by finding a page in Ken Schwaber’s book that mentions it’s not a rule for the team to stand-up at the daily scrum.   My reply was pretty simple in the sense that I never said it was a rule.  I explained to the team why it’s a good idea to stand-up and the team decided they wanted to sit, so they now sit. (results of our daily ‘sitdown’ here).

Is sitting at the stand-up a Scrum smell?  Probably. I don’t care though.  The team gets more value out of sitting.

Before I knew what “Agile” was, common sense would dictate that if something isn’t working, find a better way of doing it by trying something new. I believe that’s much more valuable than worrying about what label you put on it.