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Agile Scrum and the #1 Challenge: Culture Change

11 Sep 2017

As many of you know and perhaps know all too well, there can be many challenges when transitioning from a traditional or hybrid SDLC to Scrum or any other Agile methodology for that matter. Today I want to focus on what appears to be the number 1 challenge…change in culture. 

I typically attend a few conferences each year and this year has been no different. From speaking with clients, many great folks at Better Software West and QUEST and other local user groups we have here in Tampa, it’s rather clear that the most common and impactful challenge is getting organizational buy-in. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had where organizations are facing the same challenge. Organizations need to wake up and realize it takes more than buy-in from software development, software quality and project management divisions. Scrum team members still face having multiple managers demanding information and things get done instead of respecting/understanding the process and allowing the ScrumMaster to do his or her job. There are managers who fear that by no longer having control over resources, they lose their power and there are managers who simply struggle to make the adjustment. Let’s face it most of us have a tough time with change and Scrum team members are not immune to change. They often have a challenge speaking up and taking on the additional responsibility. It takes time and encouragement from the ScrumMaster and other team members to get used to this change. Small teams of no more than 7 team members as recommended by Scrum Alliance can help give folks control and build their confidence. 

The bigger challenge is correcting the organizational culture transition. Training shouldn’t be limited to those who will be in the Scrum teams. The entire organization should have training. By training everyone, not only will everyone have a better understanding, but they will understand the importance of the process. It will show your Scrum teams you’re fully behind them and support the new process. With the training, you need to show resources how this process will help them. What is the value of this process to me? Why do I care? If not, you will continue to have resources who don’t understand the importance of the process and you’re digging a big hole for your Scrum teams and organization as a whole. You also risk losing good resources who get frustrated with the “half agile” process. 

I’m attending StarWest in Anaheim the first week of October. Please come to our Checkpoint Technologies booth and share your experiences with me. I’d love to hear how your organization is doing things well and not so well.


Paul Shovlin Paul Shovlin
Director of Client Management
Checkpoint Technologies

Last Modified: Thursday 28 December 2017 13:40
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