Thursday, July 7, 2011

ADAPTing to Scrum

Lori Schubring was among the first to realize that things had to change. An application development manager for a large manufacturing company, Lori realized that its development process had become "so formalized that we hindered our ability to remain flexible for the business. It got to the point where we weren't turning around project requests fast enough" (2006, 27). Aware of the need to change, Lori attended a free, half-day seminar introducing Scrum. What she saw there was a better way to develop software, a framework she thought might help her organization. As such, Lori developed the desire to change to Scrum. Next, she acquired the ability to do it by participating in a ScrumMaster class, attending an agile conference, and visiting a company that had already adopted Scrum. Lori then promoted Scrum to her boss and team, convincing them of its benefits. Finally, Lori transferred some of the implications of her team using Scrum to the rest of her company so that organizational gravity would not pull the team back to where it had started.

Lori's story encapsulates the five common activities necessary for a successful and lasting Scrum adoption:

• Awareness that the current process is not delivering acceptable results

• Desire to adopt Scrum as a way to address current problems

• Ability to succeed with Scrum

• Promotion of Scrum through sharing experiences so that we remember and others can see our successes

• Transfer of the implications of using Scrum throughout the company

Conveniently, these five activities—Awareness, Desire, Ability, Promotion, and Transfer—can be remembered by the acronym ADAPT. These activities are shows Awareness, Desire, and Ability as overlapping, whereas Promotion and Transfer repeat and occur throughout the transition effort. After you have transitioned, this cycle will continue as you continuously improve.

The five activities of ADAPT are based on ADKAR (Hiatt 2006), a general model of change that includes the steps of Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. In practice, I have found separating Knowledge and Ability to be unnecessary. In a field such as software development, knowledge without ability is meaningless. Additionally, the Reinforcement step of ADKAR is replaced in ADAPT with separate Promotion and Transfer steps, emphasizing the importance of these activities to a successful transition.

An organization that successfully adopts Scrum can be thought of as engaging in these activities at multiple levels:

• Organizationally. The organization as a whole will engage in these activities. No matter how aware one person or group is, there must be a critical mass of people with a similar awareness before the organization will be able to collectively move forward. In thinking of the ADAPT model at this level, we may speak of a company with an organizational desire to adopt Scrum. Or we may say that our organization currently lacks the ability to do Scrum.

• As individuals. Because organizations are made up of individuals, it is important to acknowledge that individuals will progress through the overall transition at different rates. For example, you personally may already have acquired the ability to do Scrum; you've learned some new skills and some new ways of thinking about software development. A colleague, on the other hand, is only starting to become aware that the current approach isn't working.

• As teams. Individuals can be aided or hindered in the transition to Scrum by their teams. Teams tend to progress through the ADAPT cycle more or less together. In the same way that studies have shown individuals are more likely to be overweight if their friends are overweight (Thaler and Sunstein 2009), you are more likely to have a desire to do Scrum if the rest of your team does as well.

• Per practice. The ADAPT model can also be applied to each new skill that is acquired as part of adopting Scrum. Consider the increased reliance on automated unit testing that is common on Scrum teams. The team and its members must first become aware that the current approach to testing isn't working. They must then develop the desire to automate more tests and to do so earlier in the process. To do this will require that some team members learn new skills. Promoting the team's success with automated testing will encourage other development teams to emulate them. Finally, transferring the implications of the team doing more automated testing to other groups ensures that forces external to the team do not prevent it from continuing with the new practice.

One of the first things you'll need to do, whether you are currently using Scrum or just starting your adoption, is to decide where your individuals, teams, and organization are in their ADAPT sequence. It could be that you are acquiring the ability to do test-driven development on a team that is promoting its success inside a department that desires to implement Scrum. The overall organization, however, may be aware of only a general need to change. This chapter will discuss not only the five ADAPT activities but also the tools you will need to encourage and develop awareness, desire, ability, promotion, and transfer throughout all levels of the organization.

Source of Information :  Pearson - Succeeding with Agile Software Development Using Scrum 2010
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1 comments: on "ADAPTing to Scrum"

Andrew Rayy said...

!An agile process tends to focus on iterations, and client feedback, to allow for the inevitabilty of changing requirements whereas a waterfall process tries to define all requirements up front, and tends to be inflexible to changing requirements. You can learn more about agile and scrum by referring to some free resouces (http://www.scrumstudy.com/free-resources.asp) provided by scrumstudy or by attending any agile scrum certification courses. I would personally suggest Agile Expert Certified course or Scrum Master Certification to you.

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