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Why use Scrum for your organization’s projects

Scrum is a popular framework, although it is often confused with project management methodology.

Many modern software and product organizations use Scrum to develop their products. In this article, we will describe the benefits of Scrum and why and when to use it. We will also look at the potential reasons why an organization intentionally does not use Scrum. Reference: “Why use Scrum for your projects?“, https://medfd.org/why-use-scrum-for-your-projects/

What are the reasons why an organization decides to include Scrum in its production processes?

First of all, based on the “iterative” and “incremental” nature of the scrum framework, it is very likely that the organization suffers from purely procedural problems that reduce or even hinder its performance. Reference: Why Organizations Should Use Scrum and Agile Methodologies and When They Don’t Use Scrum, scrumtime.org, https://scrumtime.org/why-organizations-should-use-scrum-and-agile-methodologies/

Lack of good organization

These can be a lack of good organization, chaos, overloading all or only part of the work units, unclear vision, constant change of direction, and rearrangement of priorities… daily (in the worst case).

This makes it impossible to forecast, take effective measures and as a result – the activity becomes less and less reliable in the eyes of members of the organization, then the partners, and sooner or later it reaches the customers.

In general, I would categorize this type of problem as “systemic.” It doesn’t have to be very complicated or deep, often the stones that turn the cart are very small (metaphorically speaking).

Lack of the first pillar of SCRUM (transparency)

The lack of the first pillar of SCRUM (transparency) can usually be the main culprit for such problems. The first step to solving any problem is to realize that there is one and what it consists of. Reference: “Agile vs Waterfall Project management and software development with Scrum”, https://www.yahowto.com/agile-vs-waterfall-project-management-and-software-development-with-scrum/

And while its presence is evident from the poor results achieved by the company, determining its type requires a more in-depth analysis or simply a clearer view of the work process. Ie in this situation, scrum could offer a solder to the team until it learns to “solder” itself using the frame.

The figure of the scrum master

A good connection would be the figure of the scrum master, who is especially active in the beginning, and (if all goes well) to become more observant than an active participant in meetings, for example. Reference: “Lessons for Scrum Master certification and practicing professionals“, https://newia.info/lessons-for-scrum-master-certification-and-practicing-professionals/

Next, the problem could be entirely in communication, in the purely human factor. This would be more difficult to “diagnose” when the company provides good conditions (material, technical, and others), and also enjoys well-selected and highly competent (but in one specific direction) staff.

Productivity

The best work for the organization in the best conditions, but still productivity (at best) does not increase. Although the situation may seem paradoxical at first glance, the reason is quite obvious – the team is unable to work independently because there is too much specialized staff, who also suffer from poor communication.

The latter makes it impossible to achieve good results if they continue in the same spirit.

Knowledge of the scrum framework

Even a cursory knowledge of the scrum framework, in this case, would be a good solution for the organization, given the foundations on which it stands – “cross-functional” and “self-organizing” professionals who work together (as a team).

There is another, more optimistic option. The organization works well, its employees have innovative, creative thinking, high results are achieved.

Management

The company’s management (fully supported by the team) chooses the scrum framework as a good way to improve the work process and achieve even higher results. Something like taking vitamins to strengthen the company’s body instead of drugs to treat a diagnosed disease (again figuratively speaking).

This approach would betray foresight, ambition, receptivity, high awareness, and “open” awareness of the company’s leaders (which qualities are necessary not only to become but also to remain among the best). Reference: “The certified Scrum Master manages projects wisely and professionally“, https://www.islandjournal.net/certified-scrum-master-manages-projects-wisely/

What are the reasons why an organization deliberately does not decide to include Scrum in its production processes?

Given the common understanding that scrum addresses complex issues in a complex (dynamic, uncertain, rapidly changing) environment, to create a product with the highest possible value, it should be agreed that anything beyond this definition could lead to until you refuse to use the frame.

In this sense: too simple, the predictable production process for which waterfall methodologies do an excellent job. In this case, there may be no complexity of the product or the environment; the scale is small and does not require a large human resource.

Apart from this more obvious hypothesis, the possible reasons are the following:

As the main problem, I find the personal problems/complexes of its members, regardless of their quality.

In short, the symptoms could be:
  • a straightforward type of thinking (“I do things as I know how, as I’ve always done them, because it’s so calm, safe, or sometimes even out of place”);
  • narrow-minded understandings (the lack of diverse experience may be the reason – I deliberately say diverse, because many years of experience in doing the same thing does not guarantee a very rich, valuable, and far-sighted view);
  • ego (often people who feel underestimated or significant enough, or successful, share “no one can tell me how to do my job” – attitude, without even asking what exactly is the counter-proposal);
  • bad previous experience also deserves a separate place (I admit, would also be skeptical in the presence of such.

In summary, it could be said that there are two types of people: engines and performers. The first are people with ideas, they often give a new direction, a new way, a new look.

Thanks to them, the world is moving forward. The second type is those who do not like dynamics and change like to work in their comfort zone and work hard. These are the ones that make the world go.

Here comes the role of good leaders to balance and use everyone’s strengths in the right direction.

However, if the leaders are of the second type, more effort will be needed – psychological, tactical, illustrative, or informative (which I discussed in the next paragraph).

There may be no problem with the human factor (such as worldview or attitude).

Historically, many philosophies and ideologies have proved unnecessary or even dangerous simply because they are not understood at all or, worse, misunderstood.

Misunderstanding of the scrum framework

Therefore, the misunderstanding of the Scrum framework may be the reason for the lack of interest in it or its outright rejection. In the first case (lack of interest), skepticism can be overcome more easily – with a well-thought-out and adequate knowledge of the benefits and practical benefits of the framework. Reference: “Why do you want to be a certified Scrum Master?“, https://www.mmrls.org/why-certified-scrummaster/

We just find the key to the door and open it. In the second case (final denial), however, there is no lock at all and we must look for a detour or other way to overcome the wall.

Here the roots of the ultimate denial of a scrum must be understood (either bad previous experiences, fears of transparency, for example, loss of liberty, or other factors).

Then they must be refuted one by one, first verbally, if possible and practically – even better.

Financial reasons

Although it sounds prosaic, the reason may be purely financial (if the company is small or in a difficult period). Implementing the framework requires training, requires accurate staff who know what they are doing, and requires the provision of new positions, for which financial security must also be provided.

Here, good financial planning of the company and exploring profitable opportunities to provide scrum could help.

The organization’s difficulties in implementing Scrum

All the problems discussed above at the communicative or technical level could create many difficulties of a different nature for senior management.

They depend, on the one hand, on the attitude and receptivity of employees. On the other hand, the type and depth of the technical/systemic problems of the organization that are expected to be solved by applying the scrum framework are important.

In the former, senior management should make efforts through individual managers (team leaders) to establish what the scrum mood among employees is.

In this way, he could identify what problems will arise from the implementation of the framework in practice – possible resistance, disagreement, skepticism, even more, serious objections, backed by a warning to leave with more extreme opponents of the idea.

The latter is not the most loyal and sensible solution, but people who know the high cost and importance of an organization often tend to abuse it to provide their comfort.

Waterfall project management

In short, it is possible that in places with a well-established waterfall tradition, senior management may face difficult difficulties that threaten at least the temporary stability of the organization.

These obstacles may be present not only in the beginning but also in the process of implementing the framework.

For example, well-founded or not objections that too long or too often useless meetings are held and thus takes away from the time of programmers to work.

It is possible to have difficulties in communication between individual team members, not to cooperate due to personal or professional conflicts.

Also, use the new way of working as a convenient excuse for a mistake or failure.

I suspect that well-thought-out and strategically selected presentations would be very appropriate for dealing with such individual/group negative moods, regardless of the reason for them; training.

The latter, when based on examples of how serious problems are solved with the scrum framework (which coincides with those of the specific organization), would change the general bad attitude to some extent.

Success with Scrum

The more people are involved in these processes, the greater the chance of success.

Regarding the second group – systemic problems, they could be different: lack of practice to hold group meetings (everyone works for himself); lack of effective communication; excessively strict or unclear distribution of responsibilities among individual team members; even technical insecurity (eg depreciated technical assets)…

Strictly following your instructions not only to think but also to study the topic, I would add two more that I found as a result of my research.

Wrong expectations can create a problem, which requires that innovations be made carefully and gradually with clear explanations of their benefits, without misleading or exaggerating.

Also, the appointment of a manager or team leader in the organization for Scrum master can create difficulties. The latter should be objective and impartial, not to confuse his function with his strategic interests as a manager.

It is also good to be supportive, not in the role of boss, a leader to whom team members are not calm because they are financially and career-dependent on him.