I am already epic, so why work with them?
Changing the way you work is usually paired with a bit of a culture shock. You have always been fairly successful doing things a certain way, so why change, why do things differently?
This is the sentiment some people harbour when their company suddenly tells them they are going to become 'agile'. You now have to work in a tribe or a scrum team on stories or epics or other fancy buzzwords. You have to attend ceremonies that take time and effort that could be spent doing what they were hired for: actually working. It does not change what you have always done. So what's up with this whole scrum trend and why are so many companies infected?
My first experience: Learning and laughing
For the past few years I have worked in a scrum team as a product owner. Most of our processes were executed in accordance with the Scrum Guide combined with some flavouring based on our practical insights and experiences. We started off as a new team building a completely new product from scratch and we ended up going through all of Tuckman's group development stages (forming, storming, norming and performing) at a high speed rate. Working together fulltime towards a tangible goal.
Scrum helped us as a team to feel a sense of achievement through the different events that are prescribed in the Scrum Guide:
- Every two weeks we set a plan for ourselves and worked toward that end of sprint deadline to deliver what we had promised. It was the best feeling ever when our stakeholders sat there beaming during the sprint review due to the new features our team had delivered in just 2 weeks!
- Retrospectives are a time to reflect on what went well and to identify where the team process can improve. This helps you change your process for the better.
- Tuckman later added a fifth stage to his group development stages, adjourning. After all of the learning, delivering and laughing our team was dismantled after delivering two products and leaving some very happy customers behind. We all went our own way and started working on new things.
Teamwork and delivering results
My latest assignment put me in charge of purchasing a new product. This initially involved 1) writing a business case to justify the purchase and 2) putting together a tender request to attract the right suppliers. I am now in charge of delivering value in a completely different way! Whilst my main goal of delivering a valuable product is still intact, I felt I missed an element of fulfilment. After some self-reflection I came to the conclusion that 1) I missed a dedicated team to work with and 2) I missed delivering tangible results every two weeks. Once the product has been purchased it will need to be configured to support specific processes. No doubt this will be done using scrum.
Scrum makes you and your company happy
Adding value to a company can be done in many ways, so why jump on the agile bandwagon?
If done right it:
- gives you a platform to constantly deliver added value for your customers
- provides a work environment where you can learn and improve with your team.
- is not only fulfilling for yourself but also for your direct environment due to its infinite possibilities.
You can look at scrum as being another fad. As something that you have to do because management said so. You can also just see it for what it is: a framework supporting teams to develop and sustain products. Something a lot of companies depend on. So the question should not be why scrum, but rather: why not scrum?