The world is going agile. Are you?

January 14, 2014
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The world is going agile. Are you?

In the face of the global economic turbulence, organizations are forced to become nimble and agile so that they can respond to market changes quickly. Over the last few years, many organizations have adopted adaptive project management methods like Agile to increase the efficiency of their project management function. Among the different Agile frameworks, Scrum in particular has become extremely popular in most of the organizations.

While more and more organizations are adopting Scrum as their preferred framework for managing projects, they need to overcome the initial challenges in the transition process. As with any change, there will be some resistance during the transition to Scrum. Middle managers will typically fear their loss of role or loss of authority. They may not understand their new role or how they contribute to the success of the team. People who are invested in the old methodology will also typically resist the change. These people may be systems engineers or other related positions that fear losing their role as a result of changing to Scrum.

The two basic methods of transitioning to Scrum are top down and bottom up. In top down, the transition is widely communicated. There is an effort to provide education about the change to everyone involved. This communication can be a source of change resistance. The other possibility is to change things gradually within the organizational culture. Then, the transition to Scrum will be incremental.

Another aspect of transition to consider is how much of the organization requires a transition to Scrum methods. The entire organization could be transitioned at the same time. However, this method is more susceptible to problems that may result in interrupting profit generating activities. Therefore, it is more advisable to transition different divisions in an iterative fashion to reduce risk and to provide lessons learned for future iterations.

For a start-up organization or who has a fairly clean slate, it is easy for them to adopt Scrum. However, if your organization is used to traditional project management environment, there is no doubt that you will face lot of challenges at the beginning.  It is a good idea to hire some Scrum Experts to help you in the transition process. Also, training plays a pivotal role here. It is important to train your whole project team before you start using Scrum. There are many professional training organizations who offer Scrum training around the globe. Also, there are many training programs which are associated with some recognized Scrum certifications. As a matter of fact, many organizations prefer these training programs because of several reasons – 1) employees get trained in Scrum, 2) employees can earn a professional certification at the end of the training program (of course after taking the certification exam) which in turn increases the motivation of employees, 3) certification exams also help organizations to measure the effectiveness of the training program and employee performance in a more tangible manner.

If you are trying to implement Scrum and are facing issues which seem to be uphill, do not give up quickly as the benefits of implementing Scrum is far-fetched than the initial challenges.

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