Everywhere you look now it seems the software industry is singing the praises of Agile development practices – and in particular Scrum.

The actual process was identified back in the late 1980’s although was only introduced to software development in the 90’s.

So what exactly is scrum? Well, it means different things to different people, and its an approach – not a hard and fast set of rules, or an exact process. Essentially, its all about breaking things down into small segments that can be done in a short time frame of at most 30 days (also known as a Sprint). At the end of each sprint you have a new version that you can, if you so desire, release.

Many companies look at Scrum as being a silver bullet to solve all the development best practice woes. It’s not. If you have problems with your best practice (for example, source control, bug tracking and such) then Scrum will NOT solve them de facto for you – and I can’t help but get annoyed when people imply that it can.

Or even, when people imply that there is only ever one way to “do” Scrum. I fear that these days, the words Agile and Scrum have become buzzwords for the development industry – much like Extreme Programming (XP) was a few years ago. Will scrum head the same way? I don’t think so – most development houses have probably been running a scrum style approach without even realising it …