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We started following the Agile Scrum methodology and we have completed about 10 sprints.

One observation I had is that not all in the team are taking up the responsibilities of completing the tasks and user stories by themselves and everytime they have to be instructed or allotted with some tasks. Also the estimate they are giving are not very agile.

There is always a need for someone to look after all the user stories, their completion status, tasks that are yet to be done etc and allot them to team members who are not occupied.

I also feel that we would be able to deliver faster if we had one person who would create tasks and assign them to people along with deadlines to complete them (project manager role).

And this is what I feel is missing in Agile Scrum.

Given that the team is not taking up tasks and not risking to take up tight estimates, what are the alternates that we can look for? Or, are there any provisions in Agile Scrum to fasten things?

closed as unclear what you're asking by gnat, user40980, jwenting, GlenH7, ratchet freak Sep 6 '14 at 0:57

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    What is it you are looking to get out of adopting scrum? What were the problems with the old approach, whatever that was? You need to motivate what you are trying to get out of the whole exercise, and get the team to focus on that. If you introduced scrum simply because others have, and without any overarching goal, then its likely to suffer subtle hostility from those who get things done. – Will Sep 2 '14 at 5:52
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    we havent faced any issues in the older approach, the project manager typically could get things done before the deadlines. we tried adopting to agile because we thought that empowering team members will result in increased productivity. But i couldnt see any value out of it and it is already 5 months of following agile scrum – Vignesh Subramanian Sep 2 '14 at 6:10
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    So did you believe the team was underproductive, or were you being greedy? Motivating factors behind decisions is everything in this kind of thing. – Will Sep 2 '14 at 6:24
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    @Dunk: You clearly haven't worked with Scrum. In Scrum, the team commits to delivering a certain set of functionality, with a predetermined level of quality, in the next sprint. Not further in advance, only the next sprint (at most a few weeks of work). Also, if your work items are small enough (at most a few days of work) and the estimations recent enough (not more than a few weeks old), the average difference between the estimate and the actual time it takes is low enough that the teams can actually make true on their commitment. That is my experience. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Sep 2 '14 at 14:35
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    @Dunk: I work in embedded software. Most often, our stories are quite different in functionality, but comparable in complexity and therefore it is possible to give estimate with high confidence levels. If there is so much uncertainty in the scope/effort of the tasks as you indicate (which is common in research work), Scrum might not be the best methodology for you. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Sep 2 '14 at 17:27
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If you only looked at agile because you were expecting an increased productivity be aware that agile (/scrum) is not a silver bullet. Yes, self empowered teams can become more productive, but they need help.

So get a coach. Agile is like playing chess. It takes 30 minutes to explain the rules and after that you can start playing. But it takes years to reach a reasonable level as a chess player.

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At the risk of sounding a bit cheeky, one alternative is to actually use scrum. You're using something like scrum but isn't actually scrum.

If you have team members that aren't engaged, it sounds like you need an agile coach to get you past the learning phase.

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