Thursday, January 24, 2008

Really Getting Started

"... and do exactly what he [Ken Schwaber] says."

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, it is, and it isn't. And mostly it's not. But the Ken Schwaber's book does outline how to do Scrum and it does work. Even if you don't do everything, you'll get better, but you do have to get key things right or it can backfire on you.

I've had the "pleasure" of taking over two foundering projects and converting them to Scrum. So there is the way I did it. And there is the way I would do it, the next time I have the situation.

My first big project had been in development for over two years before I got involved. They had done two releases, but the releases were perceived by the customer as being of poor quality, there was much missing functionality (functionality which his customers needed, but for whatever reason, wasn't in the product), and the the functionality that was present had bugs.

The emotional level between my company and the customer had deteriorated to the point where customer and project manager were barely on speaking terms. The issues had escalated to the Executive Management Level at all three companies (Us, Our Customer, Our Customer's Key Customer). It was one of our largest and commercially most important projects, so it was important to get things back on course quickly.

I had been promoting Scrum in the company for some time, so when the company asked me to take on this project, I took this as a mandate to do Scrum. I didn't really discuss it, I just did it. Since everyone was at wit's end, no one really argued, but that caused some issues further down the road.

Before officially starting with Scrum, we did a Sprint Zero. This wasn't really a proper Sprint, but was more a transition period until we were ready to do our first Planning meeting.

To be continued...