Welcome to Scrum (Part 1): Tips for a Quick Take Off

Welcome to Scrum (Part 1): Tips for a Quick Take Off
Changing the way how people used to work might be quite a pain. And doing it by introducing Scrum is not an exception. If you’re considering to adopt Scrum or started the transition process already, these recommendations are for you:

1. Don’t copy-paste the framework - craft it to your needs

Scrum is not a ready-made solution that suits everyone. It’s a tool, and its effectiveness depends on how it’s used. You need to go through the long way of learning and practicing to be able to make the best out of it (Shu-Ha-Ri philosophy very accurately reflects the Scrum learning path).

But before you become Yoda of Scrum, act according to the framework and your common sense (read = business needs). Start from analyzing why you need Scrum: what problems you have with the current process, how Scrum can help (and if it can help at all), and what you want to achieve in the end. When you have a clear idea on that, you can fit Scrum methodology to the nature of the project and existing flaws. This way the transition becomes more meaningful and the directions - more obvious: you’ll see what to start from, what points to focus more and so on.

2. Setting up a process isn’t enough. Work on people’s mindset

Scrum requires an agile mentality. People in the team should stop thinking as individuals and start thinking as a team, shift the attention from people doing work to work getting done, prioritize hard data obtained from testing and iteration over assumptions and so on.

If people keep boasting about their achievements on daily instead of telling things that matter for the team - the meeting will be a waste of time. The whole process doesn’t make sense without the proper attitude. The earlier your team understands it - the better. So don’t hesitate to emphasize the importance of an agile mindset along with explaining the rules of the game (this is one of the most crucial tasks of a Scrum Master).

3. Start small but pay attention to the details

It is better to start on a smaller scale but go deep and pay attention to the details instead of doing it wide but shallow. Begin with one project or one team within a project. It will allow you to experiment and learn from mistakes without a fear of making big damages. Later you scale up the tried-and-tested process with smaller risks.

4. At some point, you need to let it go

One of the main strengths of a Scrum team is its independence and self-sufficiency. And the way to achieve it is by giving freedom to a team. So when the whole Scrum setup is done and the team is educated on the idea and rules of the game, it’s time to let it go and stop freaking out about every step the team makes. Stop committing on the team’s behalf, let them estimate, distribute the tasks, as well as take responsibility for their performance.

Following the same idea, make sure everyone understands the role of a Scrum Master in the team correctly. A Scrum Master isn’t the one who tells who needs to do what. In fact, his/her role is to coach the team on the process and facilitate the team’s work by identifying and removing impediments to achieving the best possible results.

5. Craft Scrum to your needs, but don’t lose the essence of it

Whereas you can adjust Scrum to your needs (see tip No 1 above), it is not a good idea to twist or neglect the framework rules and make Scrum-But out of it. Try to avoid this most common mistakes while adopting Scrum:

  • too many people in the team (keep it between 5 to 9 people ideally)
  • too long daily meetings (keep it within 15-20 min)
  • team members working on multiple projects at the same time
  • additional to Scrum ceremonies meetings
  • neglecting/forgetting to agree on the definition of done
  • prolonging Sprints if something hasn’t been done
  • changing sprint scope during the sprint.

...That’s it for now. Stay tuned and read the second part of this blog post devoted to challenges during the transition to Scrum that will be published next week.

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