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Casestudy: Effects of Scrum, 9 months later

by Floyd Marinescu on Nov 07, 2006 |
Richard Banks wrote back in February about his failed attempt to successfully introduce Scrum into his organization, concluding that "if you are planning on implementing Scrum you need to do it treat it as an all-or-nothing change." Richard had introduced parts of Scrum but didn't follow the rules. He "allowed ad-hoc requests to be actioned, allowed staff to be pulled off for other non development work and as a result failed to get the team to own the process and to own the delivery of results." He also held the roles of ProductOwner and ScrumMaster which "led to conflicts of interest over what was best for the company over what was best for the team."

Since then Richard started from scratch and tried to implement it properly. 9 months later, Richard reports that Scrum is "not only well implemented in product development but the principles of scrum are starting to filter through to other areas of the business."  Richard's blog summarizes the key areas that he's noticed Scrum cause positive change in his organization, summarized here:
  • More Ownership. The team implements quality from the beginning and has developed a culture of teamwork and responsibility.
  • Less Centralised Management. The team is self-organizing; they do their own estimates and task allocation and rarely escalate problems that could be solved internally.
  • More Planning. Stake holders and product owners are more involved in the dev process, more thought being put into the priority and order of tasks.  Less scope creep/ad-hoc requests are occuring because of strict rules about cancelling the sprint if resources are re-assigned, making requestors more careful or risk negatively impacting the business in very clear ways.
  • Less Staff Turnover. Working at a sustainable pace, feeling ownership over their work, having clear achievable goals has dramatically cut turnover. According to Richard "Even if Scrum didn't bring all the changes listed here then this alone would have made it worthwhile."
  • More Customer Focus. Customers are more invovled in planning, prioritization, feedback, useability testing, etc. The risk of producing software the client doesn't need is reduced.
  • A Better Product. "The things we have added to the product are what customers are asking for and so our value proposition for the customer is improved."
  • Organisational Change. The company morale and teamwork are improved, as is the ability for the organization deliver value to their customers.
Richard concludes with some advice:
If you wish to implement scrum (or another agile process) in your organisation remember that it's the people that make it work. Scrum is not a magic bullet that will solve all your problems, bring about world peace and get you on the Rich 100 list. It's just a framework to refocus you on what's important - delivery to the customer & improving your team.

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