Keys to Scrum Success
Keys to Scrum success
With all that said, what are the keys to an organization's successful adoption of the Scrum approach? While there's no magic formula, there are a few rules of thumb we can use as guidelines for whether or not our organization is ready for Scrum.
First and foremost, we must have a problem to solve. In other words, if what we are doing presently is working, there isn't much reason to take on the risk of adopting the Scrum approach. Scrum is hard and disruptive. Adopting a Scrum approach will immediately surface all the dysfunction in our organization and in our teams. There's little reason to confront that dysfunction if our current approach is working to our satisfaction or if we're lucky enough to be free from such dysfunction.
Assuming what we're doing presently isn't working to our satisfaction, the next key to achieving success with Scrum is the willingness of our people and our organization to make a change. Scrum requires a radical shift in how we think about what we're doing and our willingness to change. This is the most difficult part of adopting Scrum as our development approach.
Generally, we need support at all levels of the organization. We need people who recognize the need for change and a willingness to take a chance on a new way of doing things. A lone change agent is going to face an uphill battle when trying to change an entire organization and its people. It's not impossible but it is decidedly more difficult.
Finally, our best chance for success is a willingness to change and a diligent effort from both the "bottom up" and from the "top down." That said, even a handful of people at various levels of our organizational hierarchy can be enough to make the changes required.
What's really needed is for the people doing the work to be willing to take personal responsibility for what they're doing, and for managers to trust and empower their people to do just that. Given the right attitude and a passion for what we're doing, adopting Scrum can result in a dramatic change in our organization. This not only improves the lives of the people involved, transforming the world of work, but also makes a profound impact on our bottom line. Given the right circumstances, everybody wins.
Jimi Fosdick is a Certified Scrum Trainer at CollabNet. With more than 14 years of experience in product development, Jimi has worked in a wide range of industries, including publishing, software, advertising, and the public sector. As one of the Certified Scrum Trainers on CollabNet's ScrumCORE team, Jimi conducts dozens of public courses around the world each year, helping organizations to surface dysfunction and improve processes through Scrum.
Before joining CollabNet predecessor Danube in November 2008, Jimi spent four years advocating agile approaches to project management-first as a program and project manager, and later as an independent agile and Scrum consultant. During this time, Jimi worked with companies such as CIBER, Avenue A | Razorfish, MTV Networks, and Microsoft, helping them transform to more agile ways of working using Scrum. Prior to these consulting engagements, Jimi spent a decade working in various capacities in software, including as a program manager of software product development and solutions architecture at the Riverside Publishing Company, and as a senior staff developer at Polycom, Inc.
Jimi is a PMI-certified PMP, and received his MBA in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago. As an undergraduate, Jimi studied mathematics and computer science at Loyola University in Chicago. For more of Jimi's thoughts on Scrum, visit his blog at http://blogs.danube.com/author/jimi-fosdick. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.