Saturday, December 8, 2012

Questions and Answers from last week's MasterClass Workshop

One of the improvements I made in my Scrum courses and workshops is I commit to answer or address all of the questions which come up. There are always a few questions left over, so I pick them up in my blog.  

After last week's MasterClass, there were a number of unaddressed tickets left on the subject board:
  • How to create interest in Scrum
  • Change management
  • How to address Senior Management and get them on board
  • Team Skills
  • Scrum of Scrums
Let's have a look at the issues, one at a time:

How to create interest in Scrum. A very difficult question to answer briefly. I would seek to create opportunities to learn about Scrum. I would seek to create an interest in improvement. "We are uncovering better ways of ... by doing it and help others to learn to do it." Many of the patterns in Fearless Change are helpful. Sending links to short videos (e.g. TED Talks) and interesting books can be helpful. I have some links in the two blog entries that may be useful. 

Change management. This could mean managing changes to a product or managing change in an organization. The Product Backlog is the instrument for doing the former and the Product Owner is responsible for deciding what changes are made to the product my managing the Product Backlog. I think "change management" to describe organization change in an oxymoron (kind of like "military intelligence" or "beatings in my interest.") I prefer to think of this as how to lead and inspire change. If you tell people what to do or what to change to, you risk provoking a grief response, and most people will fight the change.  I have found the basic storytelling approach of get people's attention, eliciting desire, giving them time and opportunity to digest and ask questions, then following up with facts and proposals to be a very effective approach. I touched on this in my recent PMI Webinar.

How to address Senior Management and get them on board: In my eyes, three books should give you the talking points you need to address Top Management: The Leaders Guide to Radical Management (Denning), Innovators Dilemma(Christensen), Lean Startup (Ries), The Ultimate Question (Reichheld) all address critical topics and should give you the talking points you need to argue convincingly for your Agile cause.

Team Skills. What I call 'Fearless Trust' is the basis for effective teams. Create an environment of Fearless Trust and the rest will be much easier. Dare I say it will take care of itself? No, but see The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Lencioni, and this will get you off to a great start!

Scrum of Scrums - Once upon a time, people thought ScrumMasters would coordinate across teams. The approach was called Scrum of Scrums and the meetings were usually held once per week. The ScrumMasters would answer 4 questions:

  1. What did you team accomplish last week? 
  2. What does your team plan to accomplish next week? 
  3. What impediments does your team have? 
  4. What impediments does your team expect to produce this week? 

People quickly discovered that there are many topics which need coordination for which other people are more qualified to address than the ScrumMaster. So today, one talks about Scrum of Scrum of ScrumMasters, SoS of Designers, SoS of DBAs, etc. Check out this case study from Spotify for an interesting insight on how to organize and scale teams to be truly successful.

I think that covers it for the latest MasterClass. I hope I covered everything -- of course I welcome questions and do my best to answer them! And you can look for other Q&A postings to see what came out of other workshops and courses....