How to do Scrum?
4 slide decks to get you started
By Priit Parmann Posted In FlowHow Blog
We are kicking off a series of blog posts that brings you the best slide decks about Agile software development methods and practices. Today the focus is on Scrum. We chose it because it is regarded as the most popular Agile methodology (according to several surveys, e.g. the annual State of Agile by VersionOne) and there’s a good chance that your company is using at least some elements from it. These slices will give you an overview about the elements of Scrum, its comparison to waterfall software development model, tips & tricks for a “traditional project manager” and how to successfully transition your organisation to Agile.
THE ZEN OF SCRUM
So your company decided “to become Agile” and started using Scrum as the method of choice. Here are a few good slide decks to help you on this journey. You may be wondering why is it better than traditional software development methods and what is it exactly? Jurgen Appelo has answers in his classic (and highly graphical) presentation:
INTRODUCTION TO SCRUM FOR PROJECT MANAGERS
If you are a project manager and have worked with more traditional project management techniques you may find Scrum principles confusing. Luckily cPrime has put together a comprehensive (and somewhat text-heavy) slide deck to explain how Scrum improves predictability and customer satisfaction of software projects. A good point is that waterfall schedules disappoint customers because schedule is adjusted to meet scope and then the scope is adjusted later to meet release dates. Scrum freezes the schedule (a Sprint) and delivers the scope feature by feature (and reduces risks by doing so). There are even 2 quizzes in the end to test how much you remember after absorbing all those slides:
WHAT IS AGILE?
Another great overview about what Agile comes from Henrik Kniberg, an Agile/Lean coach at Spotify & Lego and an author of several very influential books on Agile and Lean. One interesting observation (backed by research) is how estimates are affected by specification length, irrelevant information, extra requirements and anchoring — the same group of people gives wildly different estimates to the same spec based on those small details. He also gives an overview about Spotify’s approach to agile software development:
SUCCEEDING WITH AGILE
On the journey to agile you have probably noticed that obstacles get on the way and it is difficult to be truly Agile. But why? Mike Cohn, one of the signatories of the Agile Manifesto, gives overview about the most common reasons and also provides a framework for succeeding with transitioning to Agile — ADAPT. Based on his “complex and adaptive model of change”, responsiveness to the environment is the measure of value (as opposed to efficiency and reliability in the “traditional model of change”) and success means “achieving a good fit with the environment” (as opposed to “closing the gap with the desired state”). One of the main concepts in this framework is how to build self-organizing teams, go browse the slides to learn how:
ASSESSING YOUR AGILITY: INTRODUCING THE COMPARATIVE AGILITY ASSESSMENT
Perhaps you are already making good progress on following Agile practices and want to compare how you are doing against other companies in you sector. Assess your agility based on 7 dimensions and 3–6 characteristics using Mike Cohn’s Comparative Agility Assessment framework. You can take the online survey and be notified when they complete the comparative reporting feature:
If you are just getting started with Scrum there should be enough ideas to try out for weeks. Just browse through, take notes (or clip the slides), share with your team and take action! And if you are thinking “is there a tool that can make adopting Scrum easier?” there actually is — sign up for a trial at signup.flowhow.io.