Podcast Episodes About Scrum

Episode 382: Top Five Warning Signs that Agile Isn't Working (Free)

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NK Shrivastava
NK Shrivastava and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview about why Agile might be failing in your organization with NK Shrivastava was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss his presentation and white paper Top Five Warning Signs That Agile is Not Working for You. Here are the abstract and conclusion:

Abstract: There are good possibilities of success when adopting an agile approach in an organization, but five symptoms in particular serve as warning signs that the organization’s agile transformation is not working well.

The five warning signs include: (a) no signs of value delivery for over 3 months, (b) teams resisting customer changes, (c) teams “waterfalling” sprints, (d) customers foregoing involvement in development and testing, and (e) lack of visibility for agile in the organization. Potential solutions for these problems are also described in this paper. Many organizations can solve these problems internally, but sometimes an external resource such as a change agent or an agile coach is needed. By addressing these issues, organizations can increase the chances of a successful agile transformation.

Conclusion: Agile doesn’t work by itself. Organizations that implement agile with minimal team support and expect it to work perfectly “out of the box” will likely be disappointed. Successful agile adoption depends on factors at the organization and team levels. Organizations need the right mindset, a strong commitment, a culture conducive to implement agile, and the ability to secure resources and outside help as needed. Teams need the training, skills, and empowerment to absorb and implement agile principles. With these factors in place, organizations and teams should be able to build the foundation for agile success.

As agile project management grows in popularity and use, it's important to consider what that means for us as project managers. There is no 'formal' role for a project manager in an Agile approach, but that's not to say project management isn't needed. We simply need to look for ways to provide project management, aligned with how the business works. From Scrum to Kanban, from the role of project manager in SAFe Agile and other ways of scaling, project managers have so much to offer in an agile environment.

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Episode 381: Scaled Agile for The Enterprise (Free)

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Joy Beatty
Joy Beatty and Cornelius Fichtner

We continue our look at the topic of scaled agile that we started in the previous episode, this time by looking at "agiLE" - Agile in the Large Enterprise.

This interview about Scaling Agile with Joy Beatty, PMI-PBA was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss her presentation and white paper Making "agiLE" Work: Agile in the Large Enterprise. If you are looking to adopt agile project management with scrum and then intend to scale it, this interview will help you understand how that can work.

Here are the abstract and final thoughts:

Abstract: Almost all large enterprises are making some transition to agile practices. There are many approaches to scale agile in the large enterprise, and we’ll give an overview of the most common scaled approaches and their limitations. This paper also discusses the most common challenges our customers’ teams are facing when scaling agile and provides suggestions to overcome those challenges.

Final Thoughts: This sounds like a daunting task—to transition to agile approaches in a large organization. However, with solid collaboration and communication, it’s absolutely doable. Teams will constantly be collaborating through elicitation, answering questions, and testing the actual product. Business analysts have a critical role to play in keeping the collaboration running smoothly, including helping to facilitate backlog grooming and elaboration, participating in planning in sprints, working with interfacing teams to identify dependencies, and serving as a product owner proxy on any teams as needed. Likewise, project and program managers can act as advisors about appropriate levels of process, help guide projects toward common goals, and ensure a focus on prioritization based on business needs. Instead of instilling a hierarchical control between PMO and product owner, in agiLE the PMO and product owner work together to achieve the objective. The real goal for agiLE teams is self-organization and creativity, while still contributing as a part of a large organization

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Scrum project management might sound like a term that doesn't fit into the 'traditional' view of Agile methods, but when you are looking to scale up your approaches, you do need to add structure. Scrum agile project management training is one way to support a team through a transition to scaled agile, and you'll learn more about agile in large enterprises in this episode with Joy, so you can make a decision about whether it is right for you.

Episode 380: Scaled Agile (Free)

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Andy Burns
Andrew Burns and Cornelius Fichtner

Agile began with the promise to make smaller project teams more able to react to ever changing customer requirements. Scrum project management teaches us how to make that happen and how to work in flexible, agile ways to deliver what the customer wants. But what if your project is big? I mean really, really big. Can we have scaled agile?

This interview about Scaling Agile with Andrew Burns, PMI-ACP, PMP, was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss his paper and presentation Dragon Scales: 50 Teams Scrumming -- Implementing Adaptive Project Management Practices at Scale. Here is the abstract:

Product portfolios can easily scale to 50 teams or more in meeting large organizations’ needs. Large portfolios with strong foundations are derived through values-based leadership. The technique links corporate and individual values to scientific principles. Scientific principles inform us that change is constant and therefore adaptation defines good practices. Values-based leadership’s agile practices take root, thrive, and adapt at the pace of business change.

The three-hundred software engineers considered herein innovated within a portfolio of 18,000 colleagues. Their agile, adaptive product development practices continue to evolve from plan-driven provenance. Leveraging agile practices at the portfolio, program, and project level continually unleashes innovation, quality, and throughput of value. Though contextualized in terms of software product development in the 2010s with Scrum, the message of innovation through values-based adoption of scientific principles is timeless and framework unallied. Implementation of practices observant of values and principles endures as a way to deliver the best products regardless of toolset.

Agile project management is a growing domain, especially agile project management with scrum. It is possible to scale this approch, as frameworks like the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) show us. The role of project manager in SAFe Agile can be critical. Scrum agile project management training can help if you want to learn how to scale, but meanwhile, Andrew's interview makes a fantastic starting point to learn more about scaling scrum to fit your organization.

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