Scaling Scrum – Setting up an Agile Practice
An Agile Practice is an empowered center of expertise focused on executing an organization’s transformation strategy. An effective Agile Practice quickly removes organizational blockers, enabling multiple teams to deliver more smoothly.
With many Agile transformation efforts traditionally focused on only teams, it is not uncommon to forget the rest of the organization when creating, delivering, and supporting products. When there are dependencies between teams or departments, teams must be able to collaborate and coordinate for maximum organizational effectiveness, not just focusing on individual team efficiencies.
This session provides several case studies of Agile Practices at organizations attempting to scale. Learn several patterns of both successful and unsuccessful Agile Practices, so that you can scale Agile more effectively across your organization.
Outline/Structure of the Talk
This session is based upon an excerpt from my Scrum@Scale training courses regarding Agile Practices. There are three parts to the session: (1) a short table exercise to introduce the problem, (2) lecture of what is an Agile Practice with two mini-case studies, and (3) tables applying the lecture material to the results of the initial short exercise.
The format of this 60-minute session looks something like:
Part 1: Introduction (~20 mins)
Lecture (up to 8 mins) Welcome & What’s the problem we’re trying to solve?
- Word Cloud (4 mins) – In one word, describe your Agile transformation efforts.
- Intro/Lecture (4 mins)
- Scrum@Scale guide says Scrum was intended from individual teams
- Most products are not delivered by individual teams; need collaboration, coordination, communication
- The more successful companies are focused on organizational effectiveness, not individual team efficiencies
- Need to ensure organization is streamlined
Card game (6 mins at tables, 7 mins large room debrief): Give tables a set of index cards with typical cross-team/organization issues. Have participants prioritize issues at tables. In debrief, have a couple tables shout out their top 3ish cards. How did they determine priority? Explain this is a “game” they can use at their organization for their teams, management, and/or executives to identify and prioritize the top cross-team issues (and the beginning of their transformation backlog...).
Part 2: An Agile Practice and Case Studies (~20 mins)
Show Scrum@Scale model. Show we’re focusing in on the ScrumMaster cycle, specifically the Executive Action Team (EAT) and the establishment of an Agile Practice. Describe structure, format, and operation of an Agile Practice.
Provide at least 2 case studies on an Agile Practice
- An Effective Agile Practice – for a Wall Street Firm, multiple sites, multiple Scrum teams
- A Not-So-Effective Agile Practice – for a Healthcare application – one site, multiple Scrum teams
Depending on time, I may add a case study for a marketing firm trying to implement Scrum for marketing campaigns (a non-IT case study…)
In each case study, I will describe:
- The problem/issue for the company
- How we established/structured the Agile Practice
- Impact the Agile Practice had on the teams/organization (both benefits and drawbacks)
Part 3: Application & Take-aways (~10 mins)
Small table discussion. For your top issue identified in the card game (from Part 1), identify:
- At least 3 ways an Agile Practice help address the issue. (5 mins)
- Who should be on your Agile Practice? (5 mins)
Do large group debrief (5 mins) – connect the problem statement from part 1 to part 2
Final Q&A (5 mins)
- Describe the need and conditions for an Agile Practice at an organization
- Distinguish between the goals of an Agile Practice and an Executive Action Team/Executive Leadership Team
- Apply lessons from prior case studies on Agile Practices to their current or future transformation efforts
Primarily persons with some experience with Agile frameworks, such as Scrum, who are in the process of an Agile transformation, or just beginning one.
Prerequisites for Attendees
It is best to know a little about Scrum, hopefully have had some experience on a Scrum team.