Scrum and Top management

February 5, 2014

Selling Scrum to the top management is a tough job. Although Scrum is an increasingly popular Agile methodology, it is hard to sell as change is mainly about people and how they cope with it. Managers might defend the present system by saying that its already working fine so why ask for change. However, they must realize the potential that implementing Scrum promises. In a traditional waterfall system, issues such as delayed estimation and delayed releases with less than expected results are prevalent. As team members are reassigned to other projects, delays become inevitable. Emergency changes after a release may result in a faulty product as there is not enough time to test. Scrum can help an organization reach its full potential even if it is already doing relatively well in a traditional set up.

Selling Scrum to the top management of an organization is a tough job but if we are to go by the trends, it might just be getting easier. In a survey conducted in 2012, it was found that 80% of all Scrum adoption in organizations was initiated by the senior management. The survey also found that after the Scrum Master, the top management such as the VPs, CEOs and Development Managers were the most knowledgeable about Scrum. The survey results show how crucial it is to spread awareness about Scrum within the top management.

The Declaration of Interdependence (DOI) can be used effectively to convince the top management to adopt Scrum. It tells us how various objectives can be achieved by certain actions. Firstly, an increase in the Return on Investment (ROI) can be achieved by focusing on delivering the features a business wants. Consistently delivering results beneficial for business will boost a project’s validity and credibility, which will in turn make the business receptive to processes and methods adopted in a project.

The ownership of the project is shared with the customers and they are involved in regular interactions with the project teams. This leads to more reliable results driven by business than when requirements are gathered upfront and there is very less interaction subsequently.

Scrum allows for planning in short iterations which facilitates adaptation to changing requirements which is characteristic of software projects. Time and resources are saved by not formulating a comprehensive plan which may need to be changed any way.

Self-organizing teams in Scrum are empowered to take ownership of problems and persevere to solve them creatively. They are more productive and share responsibility for the success of a project.


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