Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Scrum and The Enterprise (Panel - Day 1 afternoon)


In the afternoon of day 1 I chose to attend a discussion about Scrum and the enterprise with Bas Vodde, Steve Greene, Nigel Baker and Robin Dymond. I found it very useful as I am interested in applying Scrum for large scale projects and organisations. Unfortunately my notes from the session could have been a lot better but I focused mainly on listening and therefore it took me some time to connect all these notes in my notebook.
A book by John Kotter has been mentioned with title “Leading Change” which was recommended as useful read for discovering and being aware of 7 key errors in the process of change (I intend to buy it). Bas said that Nokia scrum implementation was a bottom up one which I found interesting as I always thought that such a large scale change must be driven from the top. A couple of the speakers agreed on the advice that coaching should be done on the basis of one person at a time and this is one of the reasons that changing the organisation is slow. Somebody said that culture and cultural change is overestimated. A key thing is to make sure testing drives development rather than waiting for story completion.

An interesting topic was how to do planning when teams have many related functionality and dependencies. The suggestion was that all dependencies are displayed on a white board and teams then link with other teams and list commitments. When you have such a large implementation you end up with many teams, the scrum masters of these teams form teams as well and they have scrum masters as well which is a reason for having the 3S meeting(Scrum of Scrum of Scrums) which was recommended to be done once per week.

In terms of keeping team members engaged it was suggested doing regular innovative workshops which should include the business owners and also having OpenSpace days to raise Scrum awareness and to support the coaching community. In terms of working with HR the advice given was to have Scrum roles – Scrum team member, Scrum Master and Product Owner and define competencies for these roles. I guess the challenge is to convince HR and Senior Management that this is needed.

There was the inevitable question about architecture. The common opinion was that architecture is best to emerge – Google walking skeleton.

A huge importance is being placed on having a skilled Agile Coach not just a volunteer. I would say it is the same with Scrum Masters and Product Owners. It is difficult to ask people who are not passionate about Scrum to show the same energy and engagement and deliver the same leadership as an experienced and successful practitioner.

Somebody also said that while agile coaches are skilled change agents, traditional PMs are only skilled to tell lies ;)

The change to scrum is a change from activity based hierarchy to value based streams. For the enterprise it was suggested that Scrum/Lean combination makes sense. Scrum provides the tools; Lean makes sure waste is eliminated.(or so my notes say).

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