Master of Your Own Destiny

[If you missed the first Scrummerfall post, you can read it here.]

Now that you’ve realized you are firmly ensconced in Scrummerfall, how to escape? Bad news: it could take a while, possibly way longer than you had hoped. Good news: you can help this along, too.

The single biggest roadblock to going full-on Scrum is that your executives think Agile development means they’ll be getting releases more frequently. It’s like they heard that sound bite and everything else sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. So it’s your job to help guide them. The best thing would be to convince them to participate in a day or two of training geared specifically to executives. You may find it’s an easier sell if you explain that these two days of training will mitigate adoption failure. If you need to back it with data, go ahead and quote The Standish Group’s 2012 analysis (aptly called the CHAOS Manifesto), which found Agile projects are 3x more likely to be successful than their Waterfall counterparts.

waterfall-vs-agile

Compelling, no?

As for your developers, they’ve probably had some exposure or training, so no need to go back to basics. You do, however, need to get everyone on the same page about what Agile means in your company. This is the key to facilitating Agile adoption. If everyone is operating under their own assumptions of what Agile is, or “how to do Agile,” then you are almost guaranteed an inefficient process. Take, for example, your scrum board. Are you using one? What are the gates? When is something allowed to move between gates? How do you note an impediment? Get the team to agree on little things and bigger things fall in line. Build on your early successes.

And finally, let’s talk about your UX team. When last we left them, they were running around like chickens. The reason is because they’ve been cut out of the process. Your beleaguered designers have been marginalized, but are still expected to crank out quality work with impossible deadlines. Do yourself a favor and loop them from the start. Product and UX should be like peanut butter and jelly. When the two collaborate–early and often–beautiful things happen.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find the magic wand solution that instantly switches from Waterfall to Agile. It can be painful, but it’s also hugely rewarding when you look at your entire team, working together, talking through questions, and producing great work.

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