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.
Two conversations in two days have concerned me in my role of agile coach. In the first, I had a product owner and his assistant expressing frustration at the current pace of development for 3 scrum teams. In the second conversation, an person assisting another product owner, similarly concerned, asked the scrum master for the team to begin to track who on the team was working. In both cases, the product owners for the teams lacked trust and wanted to push or motivate the team in some way.
I recently compiled a list of all the teams I had trained and coached since I began coaching in 2012. Turns out that I have helped over 90 teams from 19 companies so far. Wow! Even I had not realized the number was so high.
The teams I trained or coached vary in many ways - technology, industry, company size, and product just to name a few. The culture and diversity of the teams is also all over the board. Some teams were just OK, and some were truly high performing teams. And the team sizes vary quite a bit, from teams as small as four to teams as large as 13.
As a coach, I frequently meet with managers of software development teams to talk about Agile. They get excited when I talk about Agile and Scrum and how they might improve their software development processes and team productivity. When I describe the rigor and discipline of Scrum teams and the mindset change required to support empowered and self-organizing teams, they tend to bristle. Letting go of control sounds too radical to them. "We want evolutionary change" they say, "not revolutionary".
During training courses, I often think it would be helpful to have all of Scrum and Agile summarized on one page. It’s actually not so easy! Even though the Agile Manifesto is just 4 values and 12 principles, and the Scrum Guide is 17 pages, it is still hard to summarize all that on one slide. We’ve tried anyway, and I am interested in your opinion on our efforts.
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.
Looking for resources to help you succeed with Agile or make the transition to Scrum? You’ve come to the right place. Bookmark this guide and leverage it for all questions you have related to Agile Pilots, Training, and Transformation.
Whether you are just beginning to learn about Agile and Scrum and need guidance on best strategies for an Agile pilot, or a seasoned Agile Leader who is looking to create high-performing teams, we have tips, plans and strategies to help you avoid pitfalls and ultimately succeed with Agile and Scrum.
I work with a lot of teams and help them to adopt Agile thinking and methods. While I am pretty passionate about Agile and many of the team members are as well, I work with many team members who are afraid of Agile. Why would people fear Agile if it is such a great thing? Perhaps it isn't viewed as such a great thing by everyone. Here are some reasons why they might fear agile and 'being Agile'.
#1 Change of Any Type is Difficult