Top 9 challenges of adopting Scrum: Meta-ScrumMaster Role, Cowboy Behavior, and Agile is Not Easy.

Part 3 of 3

any task you might not like as much as creating code. Good Scrum teams are very disciplined teams and do whatever is required to deliver business value with a minimum of waste.

So, how do we prevent this cowboy behaviour from happening? Make sure that you start changing practices or deliverables after a problem or inefficiency becomes clear. Do not throw away things upfront. By doing Scrum inefficiencies, problems and software quality issues surface pretty quickly! Don't try to do pre optimization.

Also make very sure that everybody gets the concept of build-in quality and that self organizing teams do not mean: "We can do whatever we want". Assess critically the deliverables you create during the sprints and how minimal any such deliverable can be.

#9 Thinking agile is easy
Using the Scrum practices gives you some benefits really quickly. However, it is very hard to get the full benefits if you fail to grasp the bigger picture.

There is difficulty at various levels. At the management level the difficulty has to do with a new way of managing. Letting go of the old command and control structures is very hard especially if you do not understand the agile way of dealing with the issues you have. At the level of creating software a whole new set of practices is often needed. You'll have to alter you current practices and apply a set of new practices.

People end up with lots of questions like: How are you going to handle planning and estimating? How do we forecast? How do you manage agile contracting? Can't we fix the deadline? What about architecture, does it just emerge all by itself? How can we possible do requirements, development and testing at the same time? Don't be silly!! How do I measure it and how do you prioritize requirements by value? And then there is this Plan-Do-Inspect-Adapt thing, how should we do that? Isn't doing Agile more expensive?

Failing to address such questions will result into people slipping back to their usual way of working when the pressure rises. The first thing we see is a drop in quality and testing effort. Also the command and control way of managing steps right back in. As a result moral drops, velocity drops even more, the project gets cancelled and the Scrum adoption gets more complicated.

What can you do about it? Learn from other people's mistakes. You can prevent yourself from making too many big mistakes if you have people who already made them. You can greatly benefit from coaching at various levels. Having an agile champion in the organization, evangelizing agile, doing workshops, coaching ScrumMasters and so on is a key factor in successfully adopting Scrum. Equipped with coaching at the various levels and a meta-ScrumMaster you'll have the best chances of adopting Scrum successfully.


With this last part we have come to the end of the three part series. We think that you can use the presented challenges as a sort of reference guide when implementing Scrum. Whether you are in the first stages of adopting Scrum or you are doing Scrum for some time now and want to take the next step, the presented challenges can point you in the right direction for identifying and handling your own.

Implementing Scrum is really great to do and will provide benefits fast, even though there are plenty of challenges to address (lots more then just our top 9). Most important here is to keep track of the bigger picture. It is about values and principles and creating a constantly learning and adapting organization.

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