As we work with clients who are exploring how to get started with Agile and Scrum, we find ourselves asking many of the same questions. The questions help us to create a plan for success with Agile and avoid some of the problems that teams encounter when trying to adopt something new.
To address this need and help clients think broadly about the change, we developed a checklist of things to consider. The planning checklist is not intended to be comprehensive, but we believe that it includes the most common things to be considered when planning for Scrum Teams.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to support a growing consulting firm with their transformation to Scrum. It's been exciting to watch Highland Solutions learn, adapt, and grow as a team in their ability to organize and deliver great client solutions.
The attached Case Study describes their approach and some of their learning along the way. It also highlights the significant benefits they've seen as a result of their Agile Transformation. There were multiple challenges being faced by the organization in 2012 when they began their agile journey:
One of the most common conversations I’ve had with clients over the last few years is how to move from a traditional or waterfall style of development to using Agile and Scrum. Based on those discussions and years of experience leading and supporting these transformations for my clients, I’ve compiled this short guide on planning and executing an agile pilot or an agile transformation in your organization.
I have a client that has been using Agile and Scrum for the last 3 years. Let me restate that, this client has been using A.I.N.O. for the last 3 years. I am working with him to implement Scrum and eventually embrace a full Agile Transformation. With him and his team I have to refer to this as implementing a "more disciplined Scrum" because unfortunately, everyone believes they were already doing Scrum.
I always thought that crew looked like a cool sport and I've admired crew teams. In crew, team members in lightweight boats race to go as fast as possible. It is hard work! I think the crew team is a useful metaphor for Scrum teams.
Crew teams strive for speed so they keep everything as light as possible by eliminating anything heavy or unecessary. The more strong people that are rowing, relative to the weight of the boat and everything on it, the faster the boat will go.
Is your organization undermining the benefits of Scrum without even knowing it? As an agile coach, I find that many of my clients today are trying to improve on their use of Scrum. Scrum is a simple agile framework that can be difficult to implement. For some, it is difficult because people continue to do things the same way with Scrum as they had done previously. Or they misunderstand or disregard the rules of Scrum that they don't feel are important. And when they keep doing things the same way and disregard the rules, they don’t realize the benefits of Scrum and agile.
Do you think that your organization is too large or too old to succeed with Agile and Scrum? This article describes how the leadership team for the Global Markets at Bank of America invested in Scrum Training and Agile Coaching to successfully adopt Agile and Scrum. The move from waterfall to Scrum was the firsts step in a broader Agile Transformation which was led by key Agile Leaders. A detailed write-up of this Bank of America Client Success story is available for download.
A few years back my son was playing as the catcher for his high school baseball team. There had just been a close play at first base, and my son was picking up the bat for the opposing team and returning it to their dugout. It seemed like a nice thing to do, so I was surprised and won't soon forget when his coach yelled out "Hey Mersino, you're not their bat boy". The point the coach was making was that it was not my sons job to pick up the bat, he had more important things to do and focus on.
In my previous post, I described some Agile coaching I was doing with a large, conservative Chicago client working in a highly regulated environment. Like other firms in their industry, they have used traditional SDLC approaches and they are now striving to become more agile as part of their waterfall to Scrum transformation. And they are getting some traction. They have a few technology teams using Scrum successfully though that represents a small fraction of all their developmen