I’ve seen a lot of product teams botch Scrum to the point that it’s unrecognizable. Even now in 2015. I think the issues Adam Pisoni, co-founder and former CTO of Yammer, discusses are due to the misuse of Scrum, not flaws inherent in the method itself.
Used properly, management should not be calling the shots on the priorities. The product owner should make these decisions. A savvy product owner works closely with the team and knows when to give them a voice on the priorities given various technical factors, such as work effort, risk, dependencies, technical debt, etc.
The product owner should also provide the big picture during the release planning. Explaining the vision and goals of the release. And why it’s important for customers. A savvy product owner works closely with the engineers, and involves them in discussions with customers. So there should be no surprises at the release planning.
A real Scrum team is self-organizing and autonomous. The team has complete authority over how it gets its work done. A savvy product owner will protect the team’s independence and will not interfere.
Your turn. Are the issues Adam outlines due to the misuse of Scrum or flaws inherent in the Scrum methodology? I go with the former.