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Agile and Scrum Part 2: To Scrum or Not to Scrum, Should that be the Question?

By Xochi Adame | July 10, 2012

Scrum and Agile

Last week I kicked off the first of a 3-part blog series on Scrum and Agile. We’re back with CDS Global Director of R&D Luis Colón, this time to discuss how to determine whether Agile methods are right for you.


For developers out there, what are some key indicators that they should adopt the Scrum methodology?

For software developers, you have an advantage: Scrum‘s origination came from software engineers. It has been proven particularly effective in addressing long-lived issues with software development projects such as cost overruns, automating quality and improvements, and producing products, features and values at the speed of leading technology companies. It’s no surprise that some of the world’s largest companies, like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others, are big Scrum and Agile proponents and practitioners.

Your team may be in need of Scrum if you can relate to Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” You must try different techniques to achieve different outcomes.

You should consider Scrum, or at least experiment with some of its practices, if you find your team saying: “we need to compete better,” “we need to be more nimble,” “we need a way to systematically add efficiency and remove wasteful processes,” or “we must find a faster way to produce high quality software.” The more you commit to the Scrum discipline, the more likely you’ll see the benefits that thousands of companies have already realized.

Take a look at TIME’s 5-min video documentary of Facebook’s use of Agile and Scrum:

Agile and Scrum seem extremely beneficial for maximizing productivity. Could business professionals in general use these methods?

For business professionals, you’ll find a lot to like in Scrum. Say you are a C-level executive of an established company, and you see all these super-nimble small companies competing with you like never before. These folks release new products sooner, more often, and without your traditional company’s overhead. Agile and Scrum can provide a framework to start figuring out where to best focus your energies.

On the other extreme, say you are in an operational blue collar job, and you get frustrated by upper management’s desire to cut costs and maximize profits, resulting in high expectations that you must do “more with less”. In your case, Agile and Scrum can provide you a model for high efficiency, reduced waste, and continuous improvement implementations in a way that can make your work more rewarding. Does it sound too good to be true? Too gimmicky perhaps? Keep in mind that these “labels” like Agile and Scrum apply to a collection of proven best practices. So for you skeptics out there: Agile and Scrum simply organizes or packages good techniques in a coherent way to help you focus on their benefits.

Agile and Scrum Part 1

Luis Colón is Director of Research and Development at CDS Global. Connnect with him online on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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  • http://twitter.com/postAgilist Post-agile Architect

    You say these are proven techniques. Where is the proof? Please show me credible studies that show that scrum is more effective than placebo.

    To my knowledge there are none; isolated cases are isolated cases not proof

    Jordan

  • http://twitter.com/postAgilist Post-agile Architect

    FYI since Yahoo adopted Scrum their stock price has fallen 60% and their user base has dropped considerably. There is no proof that scrum works. Even Nokia has stopped using Scrum.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.dye.35 Andy Dye

    I like how in this FB example all the personnel essential to the success of developing and implementing this product are all in the same room. Since we communicate more information non verbally through tone of voice, body language, ect, this makes perfect sense from an organizational structure point of view. These are all key players in the success of the project. And the concepts they convey to each other are complex in nature. If the majority of their communication was via email then they would be spending more time clarifying and re communicating rather than actually getting the work done. This is great for productivity. They meet together face to face in the morning to address any concerns and then set a direction for the day. Everyone participates until they all have a complete understanding of what they need to contribute, then they work at it through the rest of the day.

  • Pingback: Agile and Scrum Part 1: Meet the Red Bull of Project Management | CDS Global Nonprofit

  • Anonymous

    Hi
    Jordan, I admit, there’s no one-size-fits all methodology. And there are many
    different mashups of Agile. Although I can’t speak to whether Yahoo’s stock
    fail, aka fall, directly correlates to their switch to Scrum, I can say that internally
    we’ve measured the benefits of Scrum against waterfall. For us, it’s definitely
    proven. Our developers have turned out faster, higher quality projects using
    Scrum as opposed to Waterfall, and they’re happier using Scrum, which is key to
    any work environment.

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