Maximizing Scrum

Maximizing Scrum

Maximizing Scrum -a foundational perspective on ‘scaling Scrum’- Most organizations that have adopted Scrum are caught up in a (mental) race to ‘scale Scrum’. It is worthwhile considering what drives them, and point out the value in understanding and employing Scrum properly first. A Compelling Desire to Scale? Organizations that have been around for a while have grown very complicated and extremely interdependent internal structures. IT and software development work is organized as assembly line work. Many bodies, meetings, hand-overs, resources, deliverables, processes and departments are required in order to produce and release even the smallest chunks of work. Growth in volume and quantity is seen as the only way forward. The internal structures make it very difficult to produce more work and allow such growth. The investment to produce additional work is spent mostly on the structures themselves, not on the actual productive work. The existing structures are the root of the problems organizations seek to resolve by adopting Scrum. It is then fascinating to observe how Scrum is expected to match the existing structures. The reluctance to touch the existing structures results in twisted adoptions of Scrum. The problems impeding increased business agility remain. The benefits to be gained from Scrum quickly crash against organizational limits. The attempts to scale Scrum reflect the past views in which growth was only achievable through larger numbers. The already twisted implementation of Scrum then needs to be scaled to develop more software, faster. The opportunities for organizational healing are lost. The Scalability of Scrum The primary potential of Scrum lies not in enlarging capabilities, in terms of quantity and volume,...
Why you should teach Scrum to your boss and how

Why you should teach Scrum to your boss and how

One of the biggest challenges when introducing Scrum is not really related to Scrum as such, but more to the consequences that Scrum creates in the organization by exposing the real problems. For instance senior people (managers or senior technical experts), afraid of losing their position, might get alarmed by the serious challenge to their status and do their best to slow down the change. If you want to have any probability of success with Scrum, you’d better do something to address the natural resistance of middle management to move away from a command and control leadership style. Start with your boss. In two of his inspiring articles, Steve Denning, author of the best-selling book The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management – Re-inventing the Workplace for the 21st Century, says that Agile is The Best-Kept Management Secret on the Planet and that Scrum is a Major Management Discovery. Bingo! If you want your boss to support your company’s Agile transformation and introduction of Scrum, you just have to teach her… Agile and Scrum. How can you do that? 1. Training and self-education Dedicate a consistent amount of time in education, in individual coaching as well as in team coaching with the Leadership team. 2. Gemba Respect is one of five Scrum core values: it means putting people into the conditions to do a great job and trust they will do their best to accomplish their goal. It’s about staying close to the teams, where “real” things happen and you can identify ways to improve the system. Gemba is the Japanese word which means “the real place”. So if you want to help your boss to learn Scrum, encourage her to walk...
Culture of a Team

Culture of a Team

In sociology, a team with a purpose, no matter what it’s doing, goes through 4 phases; forming, storming, norming and performing. The team should be creating it’s own norms in order to perform, and fight for the norms during storming. Hyper productivity level for a Scrum team is way beyond performing. It’s actually the place where team basically has no trust issues and team is in a high level state of self-organisation. The question usually raises at this point; what happens if we change the team formation?, e.g. a new person has joined in? An ordinary Scrum team at the performing level might need to get new norms because the teams has some new elements and the nature of chemistry needs equilibrium. On the other hand, if the team is in the hyper productive stage, the same situation will be observed, if the team is not working in that level for too long. If the team is in the hyper productive level for a long time, then the affect of the new person won’t cause the team to go down to a lower level. This actually is about the morphogenic fields (as Jeff Sutherland states at his google speech) which says, if a culture is strong in some place, the adaptation period for the joiners will be shorter. I think, same is true for those teams not in hyper productive but performing level.  So, if the joiner is a change agent and try to change the culture inside the team, the joiner will be changing quickly at the opposite direction or the team’s direction. In conclusion, the culture created inside a team is very strong...
Let the Walls Talk! and Aloud…

Let the Walls Talk! and Aloud…

Knowledge! The most valuable thing of today isn’t it? I always guide the Scrum teams for toward making everything visible in the simplest form without creating extra confusion regarding access to information. In general, one of the questions of the Scrum teams about keeping the Sprint Backlogs and entering the remaining hours by sorting out the tasks is “which tool should we use”. My answer to this question is “do not use any tool”. The management tools are generally seen as a need in the institutions which have brought their Corporate Agile transformations to a certain degree. Although this is correct for looking in to the portfolio or corporation’s release status, and even though it provides various reporting means without much effort, I always defend that using of tool must be supported with walls. Yes walls!! That areas, generally white, indicating the zone which we call as the own area of the Scrum team. Some walls function as a projection screen in order to overview the Product Backlog, some are the Kaizen Wall; it tells you what the Team has decided to do for becoming better. The most important walls of ours are the walls on which the Task Boards are located and which disseminate information in streams. You will certainly see somewhere the Burndown Chart on a flipchart paper. My fundamental criterion is empathy. I become a CEO and I step on the site to gain opinion about developing this product or project that I place strategic importance on. The only thing I should do to receive the answer to my most basic question “What condition are we...
An Agile Coach Paradigm Shift

An Agile Coach Paradigm Shift

I find my self often observing and reflecting what i am doing as an agile coach, trying to better understand my current role. I didn’t have these kind of “worries” with my previous roles and positions as a research telecom engineer, developer and project coordinator. It was just enough to follow my job/role description meet the expectations and measure the impact of my effort! I wasn’t worried about since all these different role responsibilities where close to my thinking and belief! Why these kind of “worries” surfaced with my current role, even if there are plenty of resources and books that describe what an agile coach should do and custom made role descriptions, responsibilities and expectations written in many pages? What has changed? In my journey to self-awareness through the lenses of my current role, i realised that I had to work deeper in my own paradigm shift. I was needing a new belief, a radical change on my thinking from an accepted point of view, established for years with certain habits,  to a new thinking  and a new set of habits. From trying to be the best at what i was doing and resisting to change,  to start experimenting, fail, expose my inabilities, feeling comfortable to challenge my comfort zone From an expert and having an advanced knowledge on specific areas, to a more “generalist”, trying to cover a wide area of skills and competencies. From adherence to specific role requirements, to focus more in  becoming a team player, collaborating and contributing to the whole effort. From seeing, monitoring and easily measuring results, to feel comfortable with long-term payoffs not necessary measurable. From getting and keeping control, in becoming...