Skip to main content

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 leanagilescrum.ch 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...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…

Sample Definition of Done

Why does Scrum have a Definition of Done? Simple, everyone involved in the project needs to know and understand what Done means. Furthermore, Done should be really done, as in, 'there is nothing stopping us from earning value with this function, except maybe the go-ahead from the Product Owner. Consider the alternative:
Project Manager: Is this function done?
Developer: Yes
Project Manager: So we can ship it?
Developer: Well, No. It needs to be tested, and I need to write some documentation, but the code works, really. I tested it... (pause) ...on my machine. What's wrong with this exchange? To the developer and to the project manager, "done" means something rather different. To the developer in this case, done means: "I don't have to work on this piece of code any more (unless the tester tells me something is wrong)." The project leader is looking for a statement that the code is ready to ship.

At its most basic level, a definition of Done creates a sh…

10 Warning Signs, that your team is not self-organizing

How do you know that self-organization is working? The Bern Chapter of Scrum Breakfast Club looked into this questions, and identified the following warning signs (which I have taken the liberty of translating).

The team reports to the Scrum Master at the Daily ScrumPeople wait for instructions from the Scrum MasterTeam members don't hold each other responsible [for their commitments]The same impediment comes up twice"That's the way it is" => resignation"I" instead of "We"Flip charts are lonelyCulture of conflict-avoidanceDecisions processes are unclear, nor are they discussedPersonal goals are more important than team goals
To this list I would add my a couple of my favorites:
you don't see a triangle on the task board (not working according prioritization of stories)after the daily Scrum, people return directly to their desks (no collaboration)there are a least as many stories in progress as team members (no pairing)
P.S. You can join the …