The key to the effective use of Scrum at Scale is to ensure that you are using Scrum professionally before you attempt to scale. Ensure firm foundations are in place with which you can scale effectively from. Before you start to scale, Ask yourself – Are we ready? If the answer is no then look at ways to improve your practices first and become more professional.
“Mechanical Scrum” vs “Professional Scrum”
To do this you should start by looking at improving the teams you have so they adopt Professional Scrum practices rather than just following the rules of Mechanical Scrum. Many teams out there using Scrum in the real world have the roles, artefacts and events in place that the Scrum Guide mandates, but they fail to see the big benefits that can come with Scrum. This is often described as the difference between “doing Agile” and “being Agile”. At Scrum.org we describe this as “Mechanical Scrum” vs “Professional Scrum”.
A Professional Scrum Team
A Professional Scrum Team will be one that is collaborative and high performing. They will plan their own work and self organise to deliver a potentially releasable increment of software by the end of every Sprint. They will work together to solve and overcome issues. They will care and look out for one another. They will communicate frequently and effectively. Most importantly they will make use of the practice of Empiricism that underpins Scrum to regularly inspect and adapt their work and will continuously improve how they do things.
A Professional Scrum Development Team
A Professional Scrum Development Team will have a close and collaborative relationship with their Product Owner. They will have effective technical practices and engineering standards in place and improve them frequently. They will ensure quality work is delivered and maintained by adhering to a Definition Of Done. They will self organise and plan and coordinate their own work. They will be motivated and focussed. They will be cross functional and suitably skilled so they can autonomously create and increment of potentially releasable software every Sprint.
A Professional Product Owner
A Professional Scrum Team will have a Product Owner that works collaboratively with the Development team. This Product Owner will have a clear and strong vision for the Product and will communicate what is required effectively via a well refined, ordered, transparent and clear Product Backlog. The Product Owner will ensure that the items at the top of the Product Backlog are high value and will work with the Development Team to ensure these items are delivered effectively.
A Professional Scrum Master
A Professional Scrum Team will have a Scrum Master that acts as a servant leader to coach the Scrum team to improve what they build, how they build it and to help solve any challenges they face. The Scrum Master will ensure that the mechanics of Scrum are in place and will go on to enable the Scrum team to become truly Professional, collaborative, self organising and highly productive.
So we now know what we want to see in place before we scale. But how can we help create this Professional and productive environment? In my next post I will explore some practices that we should seek to encourage in order to be more Professional.
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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