Why Sprints Piss Me Off

The concept of sprints is this; you create a few key tasks that must get done in a short period of time (1 day or 1 week) and keep those as your immediate to-do list. Sprints also include regular check-ins and reviews. (This is how sprints went with one of my clients, for whom I did marketing, not development.)

I start this article with a caveat that perhaps, perhaps if sprints are done well, they can be effective. I can also see how they are a great methodology for development teams, since you have a product deliverable at each point.

However, sprints without the entire scrum process are a joke. Especially when you apply them to your other teams (ie. marketing or social media, where the tasks are less linear).

Here’s why I find them annoying;

I already have a master to-do list. Adding another list into the mix isn’t going to make me more productive, it’s just going to be distracting. I can just as easily prioritize my existing list and work from there.

The way I’ve experienced them, they’re top-down. I’ve been assigned sprints and just have to do what they say. Even though scrum is supposed to be an agile methodology, it feels more like waterfall.

They reward time and task completion versus results. I track the ROI of some overarching monthly, quarterly and yearly goals, depending on the client. Sprint items shorten my focus, so I’m thinking about completing this week’s tasks versus the tasks I need to do to reach my quarterly/yearly goals.

The whole point of hiring experienced employees is so that they don’t have to be managed, much less micromanaged. Sprints, the assigning of sprints, and the constant check-ins make it feel like you’re being constantly managed.

It ignores all other aspects of your job. Once your sprint list goes past 8 items, it’s pushing it. That means my job gets boiled down to 8 tasks, and that’s it. But it’s not.

Essentially, “sprints” are just a fancy name for a micromanaged to-do list. Your team knows how to do their jobs well, or else you hired the wrong people. It’s up to them to get them completed without checking in every day/assigning tasks every week. Give them their marching orders, their goals, and let them go do it.

Chime in

What’s your opinion on sprints/scrum? Did I totally miss the point on this, or have you also had issues with this methodology? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. This post is my own opinion and doesn’t reflect the views of any of my clients, nor is it about any business in particular.

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