Top 7 Impediments when Implementing Scrum
By Laszlo Szalvay
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As agile project management methods have displaced traditional approaches in the past decade, Scrum, one method of agile project management, has emerged as the most popular. As more and more companies begin to consider it as a means to improve every aspect of their development efforts as well as the lives of their employees, partners and customers, there are several factors they should consider before embarking on an agile transformation with Scrum. Quite simply, there are conditions that will make Scrum adoption virtually impossible for some organizations. What follows is a list of impediments that commonly prevent companies from successfully implementing Scrum.
- Wrong People.
Just like with any other organizational initiative, Scrum implementation requires excited, enthusiastic individuals to drum up support and broadcast the success of the pilot throughout the organization. For this reason, it is recommended that the members of a pilot Scrum team be selected by volunteerism, not assignment. Team members who are leery of change will undermine the pilot’s success.
- Wrong Project.
To illustrate Scrum’s value to management, it’s important to choose a pilot project that is highly visible and stands to make an impact on the business. If Scrum helps a team successfully manage a project with nothing to lose, chances are it won’t convince management to get behind an organization-wide rollout.
- Wrong Time.
Business timing is critical. If a pilot project is begun in the midst of other major changes, it may not be noticed. Because Scrum is capable of streamlining processes, reducing cycle time, and improving product quality, it may be intentionally piloted during a time of organizational upheaval. However, when that’s not the case, teams should be strategic about choosing the right time and pay close attention to political considerations.
- Lack of Management Support.
Perhaps more than any other factor, management support can make or break a Scrum implementation. Without an advocate at the management level, the value that developers see in Scrum may never fully translate to their superiors. But an internal champion can help explain why Scrum makes the impact it does—and couch those benefits in terms that appeal to managers.
- Process Confusion.
A large part of Scrum’s ability to deliver the benefits listed above is predicated on the structure of the Scrum framework. That is, Scrum is a management wrapper with few roles, meetings, and artifacts. When one of those is modified or eliminated, it undermines the entire system. Many organizations try to lessen the shock of transitioning the way they work by mixing and matching development processes, such as Scrum and Waterfall—two opposing ways of working. Unfortunately, all that achieves is compromising Scrum’s potential to realize success.
While mixing and matching processes will certainly inhibit Scrum’s success, Scrum is actually engineering-agnostic. Still, agile engineering techniques — especially those that arose from the Extreme Programming movement — complement the Scrum framework best and are highly recommended.
- Get Prepared.
Scrum may be intuitive and easy to learn, but mastery over it is difficult. Actually getting everyone on a team—let alone within an entire organization—to understand and observe its processes and values can be extremely disruptive. Luckily, the rise in Scrum’s popularity means there are tons of free online resources available as well as paid Certified Scrum Trainers who can ease the transformation process through on-site coaching and public coursework.
Laszlo Szalvay, President, Danube Technologies, Inc. Founded in 2000 by Laszlo Szalvay and his brother Victor, Danube provides software and training exclusively focused on the Scrum method of agile software development. The company's ScrumWorks® Pro and ScrumWorks Basic products are licensed to more than 135,000 software professionals worldwide, making it the most widely used software in the industry for managing Scrum projects. Danube complements its software offering with a comprehensive schedule of ScrumCORE training courses, which are taught globally by Danube's five Certified Scrum Trainers. In all, Danube offers a comprehensive Scrum solution. So when you're ready to succeed with Scrum, call Danube.
Article Submitted On: November 04, 2009