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Why Scrum? Why Agile? Answering a Project Manager

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I'm a Project Manager, how will we organize projects with Scrum?

Scrum has no Project Managers. Projects are generally only focussed on developing something, whereas Scrum Teams design, create and sustain something. Managers are generally responsible for something or some people, whereas Scrum Teams are self-organizing.


In Scrum - as long as a product exists, it has a Product Backlog of everything that will be done to it. That includes, but is not limited to what can be termed 'projects', however it is ordered so that working on it, produces the maximum amount of value, first.


In project management, value is assumed to be a function of the 'iron triangle' - this budget, spent in this time, with this scope of solutions will make the project done. Quality is a cost to these variables: running out of time or money whilst still making the same scope will lead to reducing the quality. This is working ‘inside out’ - from what we can make, towards value for customers.


Scru…

Why Scrum? Why Agile? My Sailing Friends

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After a day's sailing, we've dropped anchor, cleaned the boat and poured ourselves a drink.


“So - what is it you do again?”
“I’m a Scrum Master.  It’s like the Master of Sail on tall ships.”

“What - like the second-in-command?”
“No, I don’t have a position in the hierarchy.  I just make sure the boat and crew are fit for purpose and help the sailors and staff understand what is going on.”

“Why would an organisation need that?”
“Many organisations approach products as if it were an industrial process like transport.  They load the cargo containers as full as they can get - calling it ‘scope’, then they plan very exactly how to drive from A to B to predict the costs and how long it will take to deliver.

“For my clients, their product doesn’t actually match this industrial process very well.  I get them to think of it as if they were explorers trying to reach some distant shore.




“They should pack very light and get great at teamwork so that they can travel up and down quickly an…

Why Scrum? Why Agile? CEO Elevator Pitch

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The second instalment of why Scrum, why Agile? What to say to a CEO...

“What do you want?”
“I have an idea that could be valuable to the company.”
“You have 60 seconds”

“We have a lot of people working on the product, but [enter employee survey here] shows that they are unhappy. They are also very clever, yet [some percentage of projects - usually ½ to ⅔] of our projects are failing - costing us a lot of money and frustration. Moreover [some big competitor] are moving faster than we are. Many of our people don't know who they create value for or why.


“This is caused by our big plans and need to control the process.


“We could take a small, self-organizing team, with all the necessary skills and permissions, and start releasing customer value early and often. It’s called Scrum - I’ve seen it work at a start-up but it also saved [some competitor] from going under.”


“What’s in it for us? Sounds like we would lose control”

“Scrum would at least show up our dysfunctions transparen…

Why Scrum? Why Agile? The Cocktail Party Answer

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This series of blog posts is about giving answers to why Scrum and Agile exist. As a Scrum Master, I am regularly asked to quickly explain what I do, why the organisation needs me or what it gains from my presence. My answer is usually tailored to the person asking the question, here is an approach:
Cocktail party answer: “So, what do you do?” “I’m a Scrum Master and an Agile Coach” “What’s that?” “It’s like a manager but with self-organising teams. The companies I work for are used to making big plans and then controlling all the steps of making a product. I help them to inspect and adapt their product and their organisation, continuously. It helps companies focus on their purpose and their customers, whilst their employees gain more enjoyment from delivering high-quality products.”