Top 7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Scrum Pilot
By Laszlo Szalvay
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When a company is ready to transition to Scrum, the first thing it will want to know is which of its projects would make the best Scrum pilot. If no one at the organization possesses the appropriate level of experience working in Scrum environments, then figuring out which project to start with can leave a team in the dark. After all, which attributes of a project make it right ó or wrong ó for Scrum? Unfortunately, there are no cut-and-dried requirements for a Scrum project, but there are several factors to take into account when making a decision. When choosing among a group of projects, first consider these seven questions:
- Is there a single Product Owner dedicated to the project? Working with a single customer helps simplify communication and reduces confusion among the team.
- Is there an experienced Scrum coach or mentor attached to the project? If the answer is yes, the team has a tremendous advantage over a Scrum team starting from scratch and learning by trial and error. An experienced Scrum practitioner can share best practices and strategies to resolve impediments with the team, helping steer the project toward success.
- Is the whole team located in the same place? While a single location for the team wonít ensure success with Scrum, it helps a lot. When a team is able to work within the same, small vicinity, Scrumís emphasis on communication and collaboration can be maximized. When a team is dispersed geographically, however, a Scrum tooling solution is usually required to keep a team focused.
- Are the projectís requirements known? How well defined are they? Scrum is so well-suited to the unpredictability of software development because it gives teams the safety of a stable work cadence. That means that, while a waterfall project would require well defined requirements, Scrum projects can begin even when only the most basic requirements are known. Requirements will then be added iteratively as more requirements become known.
- Is the team made up of cross-functional members? Unlike waterfall, Scrum teams are made up of cross-functional members (or they should be, at least). The idea is that if an entire team can perform the range of necessary skills, it is capable of executing every stage of the development work cycle. That range of skills coupled with the close-knit teamís spirit of collaboration shortens the feedback loop and helps teams expose and resolve impediments quickly.
- Does the team have the equipment and tools it needs to complete its sprint goals? And which agile engineering practices are being employed? Having the right tools for the job may mean the difference between doing it well and not doing it at all. And while not tools, per se, engineering practices can make a big impact on how a team performs its work. I would suggest that all Scrum teams use Continuous Integration, Test Driven Development, as well as Pair Programming to help tighten up processes and enable teams to do their best.
- Does the project have managementís attention? From a business standpoint, an ideal Scrum pilot visibly demonstrates success for senior management. For a Scrum adoption to really take hold at an organization, it needs the support of management. Choosing a pilot that will directly affect the bottom line will hold managementís attention and create a compelling illustration of Scrumís potential.
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 115,000 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: April 20, 2009