Scrum provides many opportunities to inspect a project and make the necessary adaptations to optimize the benefits the project will secure for the organization. However, those responsible for making the adaptation must have adequate information if they are to make the best decisions. In the case of MegaBank, Julie and Ed didn’t have enough information to decide whether to stick with a seven-month project schedule or to force a shorter schedule on the team in order to stick to the initial estimate of five months. In the absence of cost and benefit data, they went with prior commitments.
In distinct contrast, there was enough data to quantify the costs and benefits of the alternatives open to the MLB commissioner. Unfortunately, even in the presence of this data, very few teams take advantage of it. Most are so used to not having the data that they didn’t even think to use it and ended up getting quite a tongue-lashing as a result.
As the MegaBank example showed, planning doesn’t have to be extensive for a Scrum project to get going. However, it needs to be adequate enough to guide the inspection and adaptation cycle of empirical processes like Scrum. All projects could benefit from having the cost/benefit and assumptions data available to help guide these adaptations more meaningfully.