How to survive the Zombie Scrum Apocalypse

A couple of years ago Christiaan Verwijs and Johannes Schartau coined the term ‘Zombie-Scrum’. What’s it all about?

Well, at first sight Zombie Scrum seems to be normal Scrum. But it lacks a beating heart. The Scrum teams do all the Scrum events but a potential releasable increment is rarely the result of a Sprint. Zombie Scrum teams have a very unambitious definition of what ‘done’ means, and no drive to extend it. They see themselves as a cog in the wheel, unable and unwilling to change anything and have a real impact: I’m only here to code! Zombie Scrum teams show no response to a failed or successful Sprint and also don’t have any intention to improve their situation. Actually nobody cares about this team. The stakeholders have forgotten the existence of this team long time ago.

My presentations at Lean Agile Systems Thinking (LAST) Conference in Melbourne and Sydney explores the symptoms and causes of Zombie Scrum and what you can do to get started to combat and treat Zombie-Scrum. Knowing what causes Zombie Scrum might help prevent a further outbreak and prevent the apocalypse.

Join the  Zombie Resistance 

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3 Comments

  1. Ron Lichty says:

    Love the “zombie scrum” “without a heart” metaphor. With regard to having a definition of done, in my experience, zombie teams mostly don’t have one. If they do they didn’t craft it – it was handed to them by someone “on high”. (We found, in the 2016 Study of Product Team Performance, http://ronlichty.blogspot.com/2016/10/high-performance-teams-definitions-of.html, that teams that self-identified as being low performance correlated with no definition of done; it took having a definition of done crafted by the team to correlate with high performance.)

  2. Michael says:

    Well done, I will start fighting Zombie asap

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