Friday, April 29, 2016

Getting Started with Scrum

Let's talk about the basic standard patterns in getting started with Scrum. (We have talked about these ideas before, and so have many many coaches and advisors.)
  • Start a pilot team
This also means pull together a team with the best possible criteria for success. These criteria are worth reviewing in more detail later. But let's at least mention now that it ought to be a full time team (every member full time), about 7 usually, and dedicated to the full success of only one mission. And the environment around the team should be set up for success (at least as compared to set up for failure). Start only one or two teams at a time. The organization needs to support them. The people (eg, you) and the org can only handle so much change at one time. Once you have the one or two teams going well, maybe add a third.
  • Team training
We recommend that the full team be given training together. And that should include key people around the team. They all see each other buying-in to the lean-agile-scrum ideas, or maybe not fully. But they can all see. This makes it much easier for the beginning ScrumMaster, for example.
  • Team coach
Everyone (AFAIK) agrees that a team coach is essential. This needs to be a senior agile person, an experienced coach. That person is coaching the whole team and the organization immediately around the team. The person is teaching them Scrum (what they do wrong compared to what they learned in the course), advising, coaching about details, answering all their 'how do I do it exactly?' questions, etc. Both in the team and for people outside the team. There is not much agreement in the Scrum community on how much the coach is there. Some say, for example, full time for one team for 2 months (40 days). Others say 3 days or 2 days at a time for 4 sprints (let's call that 9 days). But, that beginning teams need a coach is understood. Should this coach be internal or external? At first, no one internal is usually ready to be a coach. And at first you need an authority, and an internal person usually does not carry that authority. Later, you need both internal and external coaches. The internal ones help make 'realistic' choices and address 'realistic' problems. The external people keep the internal people 'honest', and keep them from compromising too much. The external people tend to pursue change more aggressively. Always a good thing as long as people are willing to learn through mistakes. Enough for a start?  

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