How to effectively move to Scrum

Agile Programming

Scrum – this is another word being thrown around after Cloud and Big Data in the technology industry. This article is not about what scrum is. A lot of resources are available going though the details of this approach. What we would like to discuss is how to transition your team into the scrum mode. There are certain strategies we tried at our end, but it took us a while to get it right.

Do not rush: Just because you would like to promote your team and/or company as an agile mythology based one does not mean you change the order. In some companies this can have drastic effects. Make sure you have the need before moving into this agile paradigm, with a supportive, energetic and dynamic team.

People resist change*: In many teams, usually the senior members are not too keen about micromanagement. Logging in hours per story or task per se can be a huge ego issue.  You might end up facing a huge backlash and make your time at the firm a little miserable! At one of my previous places of work I was asked the question, “Why are we doing this, are we downsizing?” Build trust with the team before enforcing such practices.

Get your team ready: This can be a rather slow and painful process, especially for a team where no one has even worked in agile mode before (exactly the kind of situation we were once in!).

Get a task management system and make sure you people use it, get used to it and well perhaps even swear by it. Till the time the team is not comfortable with task management (you can use JIRA for this), do not even think of moving to scrum. You need to understand, the project management role is diminutive here. There is a product owner, a scrum master and the team (there are many fancy words for this). Once the task management is in place your create a path to scrum. This is just like user-acceptance testing, the only difference being, these users are a very tough lot. Try a few releases with this mode while stepping up on the numbers of tasks (more story points) and tighter deadlines (a sprint).  Keep your scrum master in the loop while you are doing this.

This strategy worked for us where the team was following scrum for a couple of months before we officially declared that we are a strict agile shop!

*This actually depends on your team, but there is always that one!




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