Scaling your software development effort comes at a cost. The amount of value delivered may not increase linearly as you add people and teams. You may actually produce less and be less efficient for a time as the teams deal with the added complexities that come with scaling.
As such it is important to make the most of the teams you currently have and help them to become more efficient and effective before seeking to scale your efforts. Professional Scrum is an essential foundation for scaling your development effort effectively.
Truly collaborative and performing teams that are mature and self organising can often deliver much more than newly formed teams who are learning to work together and rely on management direction to move forward, be productive, make decisions, organise and plan their work.
Before we set out to scale, we should seek to achieve more with what we already have. We may not even need to scale if we can achieve greater productivity with the teams we already have.
How To Improve
So before we scale, can we improve what we have already by focusing on these areas:
- Help the Scrum Team to become truly collaborative, self organising and autonomous.
- Restructure our Scrum Teams so that they are Feature based rather than Component based. This may increase the sense of ownership of issues and reduce the need for complex cross team communication and integration.
- Reduce multi-tasking or multi-project assignments so individuals can truly focus no what needs to be done.
- Improve relationships. For example between the Development Team and the Product Owner so they can work more effectively together.
- Motivate the team so they work happier and produce more at a higher level of quality.
- Help the Scrum Team to stay focussed on the issues that truly matter.
- Encourage the Development Team to swarm on issues to ensure fast and effective resolutions.
- Encourage an agile mindset and teams that embody the principles.
- Increase the skill level inside the team through training (self study, experimentation or formal class room based).
- Eliminate the delivery of low value work through an ordered Product Backlog and a mandated and empowered Product Owner.
- Develop and/or improve engineering standards, tooling & automation. For example, consider and trial eXtreme Programming practices such as Test Driven Development (TDD), Pair Programming, Continuous Integration etc.
- Introduce and/or enhance Test automation (Integration, Regression, Performance etc).
- Ensure a definition of “Done” that mirrors ready to ship as closely as possible and maintains effective quality standards & guidelines.
- Ensure a strong vision for the Product and effective Product Management by the Product Owner.
This is by no means a definitive list so if you have this stuff in place already – well done, but keep looking for areas to improve and be more Professional.
So we know we want this stuff. But how can we get it? In my next post I will introduce some things you can consider to raise the level of Professionalism in your Scrum team.
The Scrum Master is Simon Kneafsey. Simon is a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org, the home of Scrum run by Scrum co-creator, Ken Schwaber. Simon offers Professional Scrum Certification training courses globally and works with clients to introduce Scrum to their organisations.
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