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.
Key Planning Considerations:
Last year I wrote “Project Managers Don’t Get Agile” for the ProjectManagement.com website. As I continue to think about it, I see that part of the challenge comes from the mindset change that is required to understand agile. If you are a great project manager, chances are that your mental models limit your ability to understand and implement Agile.
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".
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.
Imagine that you have a favorite restaurant and that you go there all the time. The restaurant's specialty is the veal chop. You love the restaurant and the veal and you recommend it to everyone. You have a good friend who visits your restaurant based on your recommendation. But rather than getting the veal, she orders the spaghetti and meatballs. Her husband orders the vegan burger, which BTW is terrible. They wind up very dissatisfied with the restaurant.
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.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to teach 3 agile training sessions in a row, 2 for clients and one at Northwestern University. In those classes, I learned a few things from the attendees. These were challenges that the participants saw to implementing Agile in their organization. They were often stated as objections or ways in which they did not think Agile would work for them.