In an organization, the two levels most likely to be willing to adopt Scrum are probably the very top and the very bottom.
Top management is driven by sales figures, market share, financial results and other performance indicators. They (should) know how the company is doing and feel the heat if it is not doing well. In extreme cases, pressure will transcend corporate politics, forcing even dramatic change for the good of the company. If top management is feeling the heat, then it will be open to change and see Scrum as a source of salvation.
The operational level is trying to actually accomplish work, create and sell product, satisfy customer requirements. These people are confronted daily with the impediments preventing the company from succeeding.
What do you do if you have operational responsibility for some area, want to improve, want to adopt Scrum, but you are not able to change the entire organization?
Operational teams can decide to use Scrum to improve their own efficiency, even without active support from top management. How to introduce Scrum Bottom-Up:
- Learn how to do Scrum properly. Read about it, get certified, get a coach or mentor. Scrum done wrong can be worse than no Scrum at all.
- Recognize that your deliverables and commitments to the rest of the organization won’t change because you use scrum. Just deliver what they ask for.
- Get support of your immediate management. Explain what his advantages are. The support of middle management is essential to get budget for courses and coaching.
- Explain to your customer what you are going to change, what his advantages are, and what his role is.
- Start „Sprinting“. Define the roles (Scrummaster, Product Owner and Team) and make sure everyone knows their responsibilities.
- Be true to Scrum. Don’t change it except to satisfy an external requirement (say to deliver a functional specification or delivery timetable).
- Don’t try to change other parts of the organization (yet). Identify impediments as they arise and find solutions together with the concerned teams. Negotiate changes which make the organization more agile.
- Identify a member of top management who „feels the heat.“ Get him involved.
- The success of your project will motivate him to implement Scrum top-down.
Top Management can recognize Scrum’s potential as an agent for change and organizing principle for their company. They can achieve substantial improvements in quality, time to market and cost control. Agility and flexibility benefit. Competitive advantage results. How to introduce Scrum top-down:
- Learn how to do Scrum properly. Read about it, take a course, get certified, get a coach. Scrum done wrong can be worse than no Scrum at all.
- Identify a pilot project to use Scrum.
- Ensure they know how to do Scrum properly. Get them certified, get them an experienced coach/mentor. Get them started on sprinting.
- Once the success of the pilot project is clear, decide to use Scrum in the organization.
- Plan and execute the roll out and deployment of Scrum using Scrum.
Actually planning and rolling out Scrum in a large organization is big topic, something for another day.
What should we talk about next month? I have several topics in mind –
Bottom up: Getting started with Scrum. Planning and executing the first Sprint. Setting up and prioritizing the Product Backlog. Using tools to manage
Top Down: Organizing large projects. Planning and rolling out Scrum across multiple teams. Synchronizing work across teams. Scrum of Scrums, Enterprise transition teams, Scrum Rollout teams.
Using Scrum as a subcontractor. What to do when you are one of several companies delivering a solution and your part is but a step in the waterfall?
Daily Business – Managing your project with Target Process.
What has the most value for you….?