Lighting the Bulb: My Agile/Scrum story

Inspired by and for http://www.sligerconsulting.com/lightbulb-moments/

Before SCRUM and Lean Principles were formally introduced to the company by Agile42 I have been exposed to SCRUM or any other formal agile methodology only within the boundaries of my courses with the Open University, or articles from magazines like “IEEE Software”.

In the day to day environment, SCRUM and I became familiar with each other more one and half years ago, and very intensively. The transition was both fun and difficult. I used to work as a Team Lead prior to the adoption, and the transition meant change of responsibilities and day to day duties, although previously being the team lead of an agile by nature team. We were still back then using stickers and the board. We were marking the tasks on the stickers as in progress, done, done and tested.

The toughest episodes for me in the transition process were the moments when I looked at everything discussed / presented to us from a different angle, from an angle where you also see a huge legacy software. Do the ceremonies stay the same? Do you still follow the same ideology? How do you handle the bug backlog? How do you make the product robust enough to concentrate on implementing new functionalities? How do you organise the releases, the builds, the development freezes, testing, etc.?

At some points it seemed as if there are no answers at all, and that was partly right, since there WERE no ready answers at that point, one had to talk, discuss, and come up with solutions that were right for the moment. The most important thing in whole of the process of fixing things is simply asking “WHY?” and doing that as often as you can in order to uncover the exact reason and fix it, rather that fixing the symptoms. For example, fixing the automated build, testing processes, to uncover issues fast.

My LIGHT BULB went on, as soon as I realized I had to let my worries go, at least for the moment, to allow me to sense the sudden changing environment.  The Lean Principles were nothing new to my nature, and SCRUM was just a methodology to follow and it appeared I simply have to be myself, and I understood that there’re no consultants in the world that could answer the questions for you. The questions / concerns you have, you need to take these to the next stages of your ogranisational change and simple work on the causes.

The most beautiful things of  SCRUM  for me are transparency, and retrospectives! The ceremonies, charts, boards give a perfect state of the Sprint. whether you are the owner of the company, a scrum master, a developer or a “chicken” [a person not involved into the whole process]  you have constant feedback that helps you to plan ahead. Coupled with Retrospectives, that are a great help in finding issues and fixing reasons these are simply important parts of the SCRUM.

The roll-out may be confusing, suffering and be hard, on top of that it could prove costly for the company, however if you are calm and use your common sense and agile instincts it is worth it. I’ve seen our teams go stages of bad storming, however I think all of us are proud of what we have now and what we have normed into.

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3 Responses to Lighting the Bulb: My Agile/Scrum story

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