My group is working on implementing Scrum as a project management paradigm. Our manager is on board with the decision, but on at least two separate occasions has expressed concern that, if other organizations learn that we are implementing Scrum, that there will be confusion and friction within the greater organization because we are not a software team. To answer this, he wants us to not call it Scrum and think up other names for all of the Scrum roles and artifacts.

I immediately think that this is not a good idea and will create more problems than it solves; however, I'm also ready to concede that it might have that much of an effect. Is it really not as big of a deal as I think it is? If y'all foresee problems, how can I qualitatively and/or quantitatively convince him that this is a bad idea?

  • Consider also kanban. It is like scrum, but comes from manufacturing. There is also scrumban (half way between the two). Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 11:34

3 Answers 3


If it helps adoption renaming Scrum and the roles into something new is fine, but keep the values. I suggest not to map it to existing or traditional roles. Make up some new words.

I know a Dutch company which changed terminology of Holacracy (a complete system for self-organisation) in to Spark, because they got resistance with the wording and decided it would work better in their company. They say now hundreds of people are using it, so seems it could work.

The value is not in the naming, but in the framework or system itself.

Some other methods call the Daily Scrum the Huddle for example.

  • I have personally worked places that had this problem where saying they practiced scrum would cause problems so they changed the names to practice Scrum incognito and it gave them the space to show the value of it.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 17:25
  • 1
    Renaming roles, ceremonies and artefacts in scrum is a management "smell". It's often an indicator that someone wants to maintain the status quo while giving the illusion of adopting scrum. Like when PMs figure they can use the pretense of scrum to get their daily status reports. But if you do real scrum, then it doesn't matter what you call the individual parts.
    – Kempeth
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 12:54

If your organisation wants to become agile then openess and transparency are critical. I think that having to conceal the agile framework you are using is a really bad start.

Agile is not just about doing ceremonies and following the Scrum Guide. It is about a cultural change that leads to a better, more productive way of working. A great place to start is for your team to get out and talk to the wider organisation to explain what you are doing and why you think it will be of benefit.


Slightly changing the premise, but Scrum isn't a "software thing". If you check the Scrum Guide (which is the only thing that really matters in terms of defining what Scrum is and is not) then you will notice that the word "software" only appears twice, and both occurrences are in the list of examples of the kinds of projects scrum works for.

The fact that you're going to use it for your project already shows that you think it's going to work for your non-software project.

Any confusion that arises over you using Scrum while not building software is a chance for your team's Scrum-master to educate the confused people about what Scrum is for, and that confusion should be welcomed as it gives you a chance to talk with other teams and learn from each other.

  • I know that, and my boss knows that, but he feels like it would cause friction between the other branches and divisions in the organization.
    – John Doe
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 20:42
  • @JohnDoe if you don't think confronting the problem and explaining the situation would work in your case, you should go with the other answer :)
    – Erik
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 20:43

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