Background: During a conference an analyst pointed out in a tweet that developers hate scrum.

Myself and another person responded that this was not the case, and started discussing different scenarios on why developers would dislike scrum.

One of the scenarios where that lazy developers are not able to hide in a scrum project. They are constantly challenged by the team to contribute.

This discussion resulted in a blog post and video http://elsewhat.com/2010/05/20/lazy-developers-hate-agile-and%C2%A0scrum/

I've gotten three comments which I've tried to answer in a neutral way, but they comments do point out that there are some people who loathe scrum (and I am always 100% certain they are not lazy developers).


Have there ever been a survey among developers on to what degree developers like or hate scrum ?

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    Following scrum would make feel continually rushed, even when nobody intends to make me feel that way. I don't like feeling rushed, my effectiveness decreases when I feel I am and I don't like my effectiveness decreasing ... vicious circle... – Marjan Venema Mar 10 '11 at 7:42
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    may developers who never practiced scrum but have otherwise very strong opinions about it count ? – Matthieu M. Mar 10 '11 at 12:47
  • In my area, the vast majority of developers, including me, simply doesn't know Scrum. Some happy few have heard of it as a keyword working in pair with XP. – mouviciel Oct 28 '11 at 8:59
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    Scrum only works when the team buys in. If the team scoring the stories pads it or if management tries to set an arbitrary bar for velocity it will be horrible. . – SoylentGray Oct 28 '11 at 13:44
  • There is a survey out there: surveymonkey.com/r/JLF6D25 – Sampada Jan 31 '17 at 9:18

Scrum is very demanding...

.. especially when it is perverted by management.

Therefore I have no doubt many developers hate Scrum.

One way of perverting Scrum I seen in a large corporation was to split velocity by developers. And of course make it very visible at the daily standup. Guess what happened short term?

I've found that Scrum is usually not suitable in some organization, especially public companies & governments.

After 5 years of intensive Scrum practicing, teaching & coaching, in both large corporation and very small companies, I've come to the conclusion that Scrum is just another technique just like Java is another language than C# and that what makes the difference is the individuals that use it, not the technique itself.

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    +1 for the remark about individuals. All I would add is that the code base also makes demands and not all code bases are suitable to be "worked" in a scrum environment. While many parts of our software suite could be broken up into "byte-size" chunks, there are also parts where changes really cannot effectively be broken down into small enough chunks to be suitable for a scrum approach. – Marjan Venema Mar 10 '11 at 7:25
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    +1 for noting that the "Scrum methodology" used by some companies/teams has not much resemblance to the original Scrum as envisioned by Schwaber et al. It is also true that it is not ideally suitable for some types of projects, most notably for legacy code. – Péter Török Mar 10 '11 at 9:37
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    @Péter Török: how I know you are a Scrum Practionner. You would have been shocked to see what I saw ;) – user2567 Mar 10 '11 at 9:51
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    Agreed. I've worked in many organisations on teams that follow an Agile methodology. The ones that worked were the ones that understood and reacted to the needs of the people in the team as well as the project. Funnily enough, that's kinda implicit in the Agile Manifesto. – Ian Oct 28 '11 at 8:23
  • The real question I find my self asking; is a perverted scrum project any worse than a perverted waterfall project? Or is it just getting more attention since it is by some viewed as a holy grail of development. – dparnas Dec 21 '12 at 9:14

Meta-comment: It would be cool to have survey questions on Programmers.

Since Scrum varies so much between different teams and different organizations this question is going to be very difficult to answer. Scrum should be about empowering the team to deliver great software and developers should like that.

Where does it go wrong? The answer is in my statement above. The team is not empowered or great software is not delivered.

There are so many failure modes, here are some:

  • The product owner does not understand the customer or the business.
  • The team does not understand the customer or the business.
  • Organizational issues stand in the way of the team's accomplishing their goals.
  • Scrum turns into a day-by-day micro-management.

Those are sometimes known as scrum-buts.

IMO Scrum is more likely to be liked/successful if:

  • The team has made the decision to adopt Scrum because it felt it was appropriate for the product/project.
  • There is strong/continuous feedback from the customer through the product owner.
  • Ship after every sprint.
  • The team has autonomy, is self-organizing and full trust/support from the organization.
  • A large percentage of items in the backlog come from the team.

Another comment is that in Scrum "lazy" programmers are only accountable to the team so they may prefer that to being accountable to their boss. At any rate, I don't think this is a factor.

A problem I see with Scrum is the chicken and egg problem. If you are already agile you may not need Scrum. If you are inherently un-agile Scrum will probably not change it, it may even make things worse because it will bring any agility to the surface and make it so visible that the anti-agile forces can squash it :-)

Can a non-agile organization just turn agile? I don't know. I think Scrum wants to do that but I'm not sure it can.


To my experience, Developers/architects hate scrum a lot. Could be because of below reasons

  1. Lot of product organizations mostly consider business delivery is primary goal and tie every sprint story to a business need. Hence they hijack/compromise the motives of architecture, platform, clean design, code quality in several occasions. Sometimes they don't consider cries of developers. This is what felt by professional developers who are not lazy.

  2. Agile/scrum gives dominance, lenience product owners/product managers a lot on not giving complete details regard to requirement and inturn they expect developers imagine/assume the need to proceed with development. This leads difference in implementation, too many defects, huge pain for developers by burning their midnight oil in lot of times.

  3. In many occasions product owners compromise technical requirements with business goals often ignore developers, architect opinions on product, atform, long term goals of architecture and they end us with short term solutions to proceed which is not a right choice for any product

  4. Eventually you will end up with a product which has defects, design flaws, build rollbacks sometimes, dissatisfaction ratings from user, performance issues, horrible codebase for developer to touch further.

I truely not consider scrum/agile as better methodology in many occasions.

  • Interesting that you point out that scrum may lead product owners into short-term optimalizations of delivering new functionality, while the solution turns into a big ball of mud laputan.org/mud . I would believe that the team together would have better chance of convincing the PO of the value of the technical architecture, than individual developers in separate dev roles. – dparnas Dec 21 '12 at 9:11

I hate it. And most of the developers I know hate it as well.

It's pretty difficult to do cerebral, creative work like software development under a microscope.

  • 3
    I really do not know what you mean by this. Have you actually used scrum or is that how you think it would make you feel? – SoylentGray Oct 28 '11 at 13:32
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    Under a microscope? What do you mean? – Eoin Carroll Nov 12 '11 at 9:39
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    Were you doing Scrum or ScrumBut? – Arnold Zokas Mar 5 '12 at 0:40
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    "Under a microscope" means having to justify and show progress with your work on a daily basis, or at least feeling this way. Creative software development doesn't work like that. You show your work when it is ready, and if you need help, you just ask. – Acumenus Jun 11 '14 at 3:10

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