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Resolving Scrum Transition Issues Using Two Practical Approaches

Fri 30 Sep 2016 10:41

It is possible to implement Scrum in many ways. The framework has a lot to offer in terms of delivering frequent and sustained product releases, and offering decreased project turnaround times. However, it is only possible when the implementation process is carried out effectively. Scrum, like any other framework, has to be implemented properly in a project before its benefits can be availed. Therein lies the main problem. Organisations new to Scrum, and those which have been following traditional project development methodologies like Waterfall, often fail to implement the framework in the correct manner and don’t get positive results from the Scrum process.

A major reason why organisations decide to implement Scrum in their ongoing projects is to increase productivity and enhance their profit margins. Many organisations invest in Scrum training workshops and coaching sessions to familiarise and train their development teams in Scrum. In several cases it is observed that team members still follow old Waterfall techniques in some way or the other in addition to Scrum principles during the implementation process. Teams fail to give up their older processes and development methods that they are accustomed to. In addition, many teams resent changes and feel reluctant while adopting Scrum. This raises some serious implementation related issues. It is important to resolve these issues if organisations are to benefit from Scrum.

Development teams can be made more effective by encouraging them to understand the Scrum process rather than by forcing them to adopt the framework. This could be done in two ways:

scrum transformation

Scrum adoption – The traditional approach

Businesses and organisations that do not have much experience with the implementation process generally prefer to introduce Scrum gradually to their teams. One of the most logical ways of introducing the framework would be to:

  • Introduce and coach the Scrum process to the team, and

  • Encourage the team to adopt and follow the Scrum framework after proper coaching

While this method may seem to be practical, in practice this approach might fail, simply because:

  • Team members tend to feel the transition to Scrum is a “company decision” and so they are “liable” to follow it whether they approve of it or not.

  • The transition is not taken seriously because the training and coaching activity is company sponsored and the team members don’t have to pay for it.

If Scrum is enforced, the team may be compelled to follow it, but it would still not make the teams collaborative and self-motivated - the two principles that are very important to the Scrum process. A possible way out would be to try out a more result oriented approach.

Adopting Scrum through the “result oriented” approach

It is important to coach the Scrum team so it can understand the events and discover how Scrum artefacts should be ideally used. If the traditional approach fails, a more “result oriented” approach may be tried in its place:

  • Make it mandatory for the team members to train for Scrum. Moreover, each member has to pay for the coaching sessions.

  • After the training sessions, the team starts implementing Scrum. The entire team follows and practices Scrum principles and techniques. Team members participate in the Scrum events and try to make the implementation process more effective.

  • If the team delivers the desired results in a month’s time, the management refunds the entire training fee to each employee.

It is important to note here that the team has to work jointly and deliver the results. The team has to collaborate and share ideas so facilitate the development process. And above all, the team has to manage itself. So, in many ways the team is held directly responsible for its success or failure.

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