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Dave West on the State of Scrum

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In this Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Dave West, CEO and Product Owner at scrum.org about the current state of scrum and the latest initiatives by scrum.org

Key Takeaways

  • Scrum has been used for over 25 years and people are using it in different areas and the challenges are not around the rudimentary aspects of adoption rather it is about optimising the way of working in different contexts
  • The need to move beyond adherence to a single approach into a wider, pragmatic mesh of ideas from multiple sources
  • The fundamentals of Empiricism, self-organization and continuous improvement need to be wrapped in discipline, customer-centricity and a value model that makes sense while we constantly improve our skills
  • The characteristics of the organic model are completely different to the factory model – thinking needs to shift from process adherence to values & behaviors, from specialists to generalists who are customer focused who can learn quickly, from hierarchies to flat organisations
  • You can’t be agile without transparency and an empirical mindset

Show Notes

  • 00:42 Introductions
  • 01:22 The PSM2 class from scrum.org – Advanced Scrumaster Class launched at Agile 2018
  • 02:03 Explaining maturity in Scrum and agile adoptions
  • 02:36 The discussions are no longer about should we use Scrum and agile, rather how do we use it in different contexts
  • 03:20 Scrum has been used for over 25 years and people are using it in different areas and the challenges are not around the rudimentary aspects of adoption rather it is about optimizing the way of working in different contexts
  • 03:45 The different challenges that this opens up
  • 03:50 The impact of models where maturity implied heavy documentation and bureaucracy
  • 04:32 Moving beyond adherence to a single approach into a wider, pragmatic mesh of ideas from multiple sources
  • 04:48 Agile highlights existing problems in the organization, we then need to address them
  • 05:10 The problem-space that Nexus is designed to address
  • 05:30 The importance of asking if scaling is the right thing to do for an organization
  • 05:42 Alternative approaches to scaling
  • 05:48 How do you architect a system to scale
  • 05:56 The types of questions that are being asked today are more complex and deeper than before
  • 06:17 Exploring the challenges of keeping teams small while ensuring they have all the skills needed to deliver
  • 06:35 Not all markets and industries are mature, so these challenges are unevenly spread
  • 07:29 There are some fundamental things that every single agile organisation need to do
  • 07:37 Empiricism is crucial – understand and define work in an empirical way
  • 07:52 Self-organisation and continuous improvement are two other fundamentals
  • 07:58 The fundamentals need to be wrapped in discipline, customer-centricity and a value model that makes sense while we constantly improve our skills
  • 08:17 How you achieve these things will depend on your context – this is why Scrum is a framework not a methodology *** Good soundbite ***
  • 08:32 The goal of the Scrum founders is to take things out of the Scrum framework rather than adding new aspects
  • 08:52 Because Scrum is a framework, at the implementation point choices have to be made in order to deliver value for the specific context
  • 09:12 Referencing a McKinsey article – there is no one-size-fits-all, but organisations want there to be one because they are used to a manufacturing model
  • 09:37 The factory model needs to be replaced with an organic, environmental model which requires completely different management and leadership approaches
  • 10:02 The characteristics of the organic model are completely different to the factory model – thinking needs to shift from process adherence to values & behaviours, from specialists to generalists who are customer focused who can learn quickly, from hierarchies to flat organisations
  • 11:05 The challenges of change in large organisations are great -middle management achieved success by executing process, aspiring to hierarchy and by controlling specialists
  • 11:42 If organisations don’t change to new ways of thinking then people who aspire to better outcomes will leave
  • 12:10 Amazon as an organisation that embodies the principles of the new ways of working  (either by design or by default)
  • 12:50 The impact on an existing market when Amazon moves in
  • 13:25 The organisations that survive will be the ones who take on the new ways of working
  • 13:58 Referencing the book “That Used To Be Us” and the three roles of creators, people who support creators and servers
  • 14:25 Many of the server roles can and will be replaced by automation
  • 15:02 McDonalds as an example of how server roles are being replaced
  • 15:52 The empirical evidence scrum.org used to identify the need for the PSM2 class – there is both a need and an interest in the advanced Scrum Master class
  • 17:05 The rise in the importance of the Product Owner role
  • 17:28 The challenges faced in product ownership – most organizations hate empowering people to the extent needed for successful product ownership
  • 18:12 Many companies are challenged by the need to enable self-organization
  • 18:28 The data indicates that managers in organizations need help to become agile, hence the launch of the Professional Agile Leadership class
  • 19:10 Lean Startup looking at bringing new ways of managing innovation to the business community
  • 19:25 The challenges inherent in the current investment model which doesn’t cope with uncertainty
  • 20:00 The government doesn’t understand how to approach innovation
  • 20:40 Product Ownership as a key focus for scrum.org in 2019
  • 21:40 The scrum.org initiatives around leadership
  • 22:54 Empiricism and transparency are vitally important for organizations today
  • 23:22 Encouraging everyone to think about how they can be more empirical and transparent in their own work
  • 23:42 You can’t be agile without transparency and an empirical mindset

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