Thursday, February 10, 2011

Scrum in a Management Consulting Context

When the topics is hot, people will come. And so it was for the first Scrum Breakfast in Zurich this year. 38 people came to learn and discuss the case of an early adopter of Scrum outside the Software context.

Michael Stump spent three months working with a consulting company -- that had nothing to do with software -- coaching them through a pilot project. On the face of it, consulting seems like a logical application for Scrum. By definition, consultants solve complex problems. Quality is important. And the problems are big enough that they can't be solved by one person alone.

On the other hand, internal competition is intense ("up or out"). Many practices around Scrum were established in a software context (user stories, potentially shippable product). So what does a backlog entry look like? What is the definition of done? How was the customer involved in the project. Many questions!

Michael presented his experiences introducing Scrum into this organization. Really interesting were the discussions around the definition of done, what impediments arose and how they handled them (for example team work and the trust culture vs. up-or-out), and the bottom line value doing Scrum.

What was the bottom line? Everyone had more fun on the job. The quality was substantially better. And the team was a factor of 3,4 more productive (although there was a lot of discussion about what this actually meant).

You can download Michael's presentation on the website. And Micheal is planning to repeat his talk at the Scrum Breakfast in Bern. Watch for it on the SwissICT Events page.

P.S. We started a new idea: Lean & Scrum for Newbies (dare we call them "Beginners?"). Mischa Ramseyer gave a 15 minute introduction into the practices and values for the benefit of the people coming for the first time. Probably a third to half of the participants shorted their morning coffee to listen in before the main program started. So we'll be repeating this in the future...