Unfortunately, many so-called Scrum adoptions keep missing the essence of Scrum. They are too preoccupied with the mechanics of Scrum; process, roles, meetings, and certifications. Or, even worse, they are obsessed with non-Scrum practices such as stories, points, velocity, task boards, or product boxes.
To me, the essence of Scrum is a simple idea. There is a customer who has a problem that is worth solving and that can probably be solved by developing a product. To help that customer, we put together a team of people who together have or can acquire the skills needed to build that product. This team interacts directly with the real customer to better understand the problem. Together, the customer and the team, decide on the most important first steps in solving the larger problem. The team develops a small, usable product in a short, fixed time to take that first step, solving a small part of the problem. Having reached the end of that first period in time, the team reflects on how they worked and determines how to improve that. The team and customer play with what was created and together choose the best next step. Off they go. This cycle continues until there is no more problem to solve.
The Scrum mechanics have been created to make this simple idea concrete and practical. But successful Scrum adoptions concentrate on the essence more than on the mechanics.
Most Scrum adoptions would improve by continuously reminding themselves of the essence of Scrum. Is adopting a certain practice going to help us achieve the purpose of Scrum? Regularly asking that question can prevent a team from chasing hypes and instead pursue satisfied customers.
Remaining focused on the essence is even more important in large, complex environments. Especially today when all hype and fancy terminology is aggregated in a large complex scaling frameworks: SAFe. The aim is to integrate everything called agile into one enterprise solution. It includes process, roles, stories, and velocities and expanded the market for resume-improving certifications. But… does it achieve the essence?