A new challenge…

Today is my 3rd day as an official ScrumMaster. Although the first 2 days were, well, daunting at best, today there seems to be a bit more clarity. The challenges here are similar, but still different. Resistance to adoption is coming from a different place this time. The teams seem to want to do Scrum (at least it appears that way), although there is ALOT of area for improvement. There is some frustration from management and this is starting to flow over into the teams and cause people to disbelieve the effectiveness of an agile approach (I guess it’s a classis “blame the tool” scenario). I think the frustration comes from the misdirection that exists in the way the teams are applying Scrum. Off the top of my head and based on a few days of observation the following are big issues that need to be addressed:

  • There is no visible prioritized product backlog with no obvious release plan (I believe this is where the main frustration comes from)
  • The teams have no burn down charts, they seem to be relying on the tool (Version One) for this, but without the discipline of keeping it up to date, it’s not really useful. Another reason why I don’t really like tools, people place too much reliance on it and fail to realize that it’s not using the tool that’s important but rather that something actually gets done.
  • There is a need (and lack of) a Scrum of Scrums to co-ordinate the effort between the teams.
  • The daily stand-ups are not focused co-ordination meetings and often break down into general discussions, sometimes “chickens” even take control of the show.
  • The impediment lists aren’t being managed (and aren’t prioritized)

There are other smaller places of possible improvement, but we will need to fix the larger issues first.

Overall I’m a mixture of excited, confused and nervous about the next few days. Where I had the advantage of already having earned the respect of the previous companies team I now find myself sitting with the the daunting task of having to re-earn respect. I do not believe in telling people what to do but rather in having them do things because they feel it is the right thing to do, for that to happen people have to respect you and your opinion and believe in you. Until that comes I will fall back to process and hopefully the respect will come when my opinion creates value for the team(s).

Let’s see how things go…

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