The Scrum approach to agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. Scrum and other agile methods were inspired by its shortcomings. Scrum emphasizes collaboration, functioning software, team self management, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.


The Daily Scrum; It’s a Good Habit to Make

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum, Scrum Basics, Scrum Transitions

When you think of the word “habit” what do you think of? In the dictionary, there are several distinctly different meanings for “habit” such as:
1. A customary practice or use
2. An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary
3. An addiction, especially to narcotics
4. A dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality

We tend to think of “good” habits or “bad” habits. When the behavior we are repeating results in positive circumstances, it is “good”. When it leads to negative results, addictions etc. it is “bad”.
The “daily scrum” is the heartbeat of scrum and is a “good habit”. Tamara Sulaiman, a Certified Scrum Trainer, in her blog post titled “Techniques for Improving Your Daily Scrum; when Your Daily Scrum isn’t Daily” says, “The daily scrum is one of the most valuable practices that any team can use.” The purpose of the daily scrum is to increase the team’s communication and focus by answering 3 questions, “What have I accomplished since the last meeting? What do I plan to do for the next meeting? What impediments are in my way? “ When teams don’t huddle daily, they risk losing the communication, focus and momentum of a team necessary to build the right product with the appropriate quality on time. Oftentimes, teams will have excuses for avoiding the daily scrum or stand up meetings. I’m sure you will be familiar with many of the excuses Tamara talks about. The daily scrum, however, makes teams more successful because it is the smallest, tightest feedback loop built into the Scrum framework. Think of it like brushing your teeth or exercising daily– it’s a good daily habit to make and will pay off in the long haul.

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Obstacles to Enterprise Agility

Posted by admin under Uncategorized

How can large enterprises become more agile? Many people think that the common obstacles to agility in large organizations are due to “giantism” and are entirely unavoidable. In other words, it’s like trying to maneuver the Titanic around the iceberg. Many people within the large organization will resist the change saying, “too much to do” or “not enough resources”. However, these are often misconceptions that reinforce bad habits and contribute to change resistance. In a recent article posted on called “Obstacles to Enterprise Agility”, Michael James, a CollabNet Certified Scrum Trainer outlines some of the key impediments to enterprise agility which include:

  • Naïve Resource Management
  • Organizing teams by functional specialization
  • Organizing teams by architectural components
  • Rampant technical debt
  • Lack of commitment to transformation

Are you working on an agile transformation? Do these sound like topics that have been on your mind lately? If so, I encourage you to check out Michael’s article here.

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Has Scrum Become the Face of Agile?

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum

I just came across a recently published Forrester report called “Ensure Success for Agile Using Four Simple Steps,” that provides recommendations for how organizations can smooth out the agile adoption process and make sure it sticks. Written by David West, with assistance from Mike Gilpin and David D’Silva, the report draws on the experiences of companies using agile to manage complex projects (from HP to Wells Fargo) as well as companies who offer agile training and software solutions, such as Danube Technologies which publishes ScrumWorks Pro. It’s a great document for organizations considering an agile transformation or those who have taken the plunge, but are still encountering obstacles to adoption. To purchase it, head here:,7211,54037,00.html

One of the most interesting aspects of this article was how Scrum is used almost interchangeably with agile. That is, while Scrum is in fact just one project management method beneath the umbrella of agile, there was virtually no mention of any other method. (Rational Unified Process (i.e. RUP) was mentioned, but Crystal, Spiral, and DSDM were not.) It’s clear that Scrum has become the most popular exponent of agile over the past few years, but West’s report suggests its popularity has grown to the point that it has become the face of agile. Nearly every concrete example provided refers to Scrum and, early on, Scrum creator Ken Schwaber is quoted about Scrum teams as a proof point of an “agile” trend.

In part, this squares with one of the report’s main points: “Make organizational change, not agile development, the main focus.” That is, agile development is only doing its job if it’s helping an organization improve its processes and become more effective and efficient. After all, if a team religiously follows agile practices and processes, but fails to enact actual change, then there’s no point. In that sense, any agile method can work for an organization, but I suspect West returns to Scrum time and again because it is the most widely practiced—and most successful—method.

What do you think? Is your team using another agile subset to manage projects? Or is Scrum just the standard? What reasons do you see as responsible for Scrum’s popularity?

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