Attending to What Management Wants in an Agile Adoption

Proponents of Scrum often put the responsibility for failed adoptions of Scrum at the feet of management who don’t want to change. While I believe this is true some of the time, I believe the challenge is that Agile adoptions based on Scrum often don’t attend to management’s needs.

I believe management concerns regarding Agile adoptions are focused on reducing risk, making sure it fits their needs, and to be able to adapt when needed. It’s tempting to say “let’s just adopt Scrum.” But this ignores that we live in a complex world where you reduce uncertainty not by having a preset list of things you must do, but rather by learning to adjust to the situation at hand. These are things beyond our control.

What is in our control is our actions. 15 years ago we didn’t have a solid understanding of the “task work” so to speak of Agile. Why working on small batches were good, why visibility was essential, why managing queues is critical, … Now we do. This enables us to go beyond Scrum effectively.

Adopting Scrum is very often the best place to start. It provides structure & discipline. But get training from someone who knows how to go beyond it when that’s the right thing to do.

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Addressing the issue of how to adjust Scrum while not worrying about if it is still Scrum is based on  20 years experience with Scrum and is described here:  How to improve or change your Scrum practicesThis is part of our larger Scrum Support system.   I believe having a framework where being effective sometimes requires you to go beyond it is insidious. I contend there are place in any tech org of more than 50 people that no one set of practices work, particularly in shared services, DevOps, maintenance. We have put this together because we’re not limited to Scrum. 

Frameworks, proxies and Lean-Agile Principles

From the moment Scrum became more popular than XP, the software dev community has been focusing on frameworks more than Lean-Agile principles. It’s not surprising this has happened. It’s a lot easier to understand a framework than the principles underneath them.

The challenge that occurs is when the framework becomes the goal. Continue reading “Frameworks, proxies and Lean-Agile Principles”

Lean Thinking on frameworks vs. the work in them

One of the central tenets of Lean is that the system people are in impacts them significantly. This does not mean, however, that one can just create a new system and put people in it – this would be a perversion of Lean-Thinking.  Lean suggests systems support our people. But this presumes they are capable of getting their work done. Putting people into a potentially Agile system does not teach someone actual Agile skills.

Continue reading “Lean Thinking on frameworks vs. the work in them”

Scrum FLEXed

Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts and rules are immutable. Ironically, immutability is as non-Agile as one can be – so why is this? When difficulties arise in how work is being done a question must be asked – “are we doing the right thing poorly or just doing the wrong thing? Scrum pre-defines the “right” thing & says keep working on until you do it correctly. But what if these are not ideal for your situation? What do you do then? Continue reading “Scrum FLEXed”