If Waterfall is like orchestral classical music, Scrum is like jazz. It’s that new, fanatical neighbor everyone looks at with skepticism, who seems to be having way too much fun. It’s musician-driven. It relies on the familiarity and training of it’s participants. In each, everyone is a team, relying on each other more then the written outline to get results. The visionary has to trust the Builders, to give them the leeway to do what they do best – entertain. While arguably both musical styles are successful, jazz relies on a smaller team of individuals with wide varieties of skills. Communication between musicians is paramount, both before and during the piece. The whole jazz process is worker driven and worker defined, whereas in classical music the conductor dictates every step of the practice and the results, with leads and sub-leads relying messages to their individual departments. There’s room for soloists in both, but in jazz everyone’s expected to take a solo, not just one celebrity. While in jazz you have to buy into the philosophy of the music and the team. While the philosophy can be hard to appreciate, alien even, to one trained in classical (whose used to being dictated to), once you realize the freedom it’s exhilarating. It makes the act of creating a whole new level of fun, a Gospel choir compared to a Gregorian.
P.S. No, I wouldn’t take this to dysfunctional Scrum as the blues – the blues is a functional style in it’s own right. But would 4-person garage indies be our rock bands? I suppose that would mean we’d see famous indies go pop music and start outsourcing their production or something.