Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What's the best way to provide guidance for Scrum teams?

What's the best way of making sure that teams working on different projects follow the same Scrum process? Would you use a rigid approach or allow a degree of flexibility for each team? ~ Quora User

Dear Readers – Engineering strategy and software process improvement are popular topics on Quora.com, and I try to go in and answer questions as frequently as I can. Below is my response to an Agile Leader who wants to be more successful with Scrum. Enjoy! ~ the CMMI Appraiser

Dear Quora User,

Scrum, one of several popular frameworks that fall under the “agile” umbrella, is an “empirical process model.” This means, for this context, that teams learn and improve as they go, and may end up with different approaches over time, as compared to other teams.

Providing Scrum teams with guiderails 

The very nature of empirical models means that a “rigid” approach is not acceptable, and would corrupt the very architecture you’ve adopted - probably leading to negative results.

That doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t be provided with guidance (sometimes called "guiderails" in the community) on how the company expects them to perform.

Like a great musician, artist, or writer, the best performing scrum teams have MASTERED the art of scrum before they go off an make a lot of changes, versus the worst garage band, that just turns up the volume and celebrates their rebelliousness.

One performance model that is gaining in popularity is the Agile Performance Holarchy (APH) from AgileCxO.org. This set of guiderails is intended to influence leadership to set expectations of performance using a very disciplined approach, but then encourages teams to improve, adjust, learn, and modify based on their needs - but only AFTER mastering the craft. Makes sense.

Good luck!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software leader!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

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