RE: [scrumdevelopment] Introductions
- Hank,It's a fairly small world. I work for Rob Andes, and I currently have a copy of 'The Product Manager's Handbook' with your name on the inside cover.I went through an effort to bring agile into a small company with a strong 'illusion of control' management team. It was a rather painful experience, one that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I wrote about it on my blog, in a post entitled 'How Agile Development Ruined My Career (Sort of)'. Perhaps it can help you avoid similar pain.Hello -
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of hhroark
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 7:25 AM
Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Introductions
I am new to this group and just wanted to take this opportunity to
I am a product development manager for a software product unit of John
Deere (yes, the tractor company...we happen to make and sell software,
and not just the kind that goes on the equipment). The group I manage
is 24 or so people that take on at least the following roles:
architect, software developer, tester, information architect,
interaction designer, usability tester, user documentation writer,
configuration manager, etc. One of my primary jobs is to define the
software development process in my unit.
My group works very closely with a project management group and a
product management group. The project management group will
_hopefully_ become scrum masters and the product management group will
_hopefully_ become good product owners and _hopefully_ my group will
complete the adoption of scrum within the next three months. I say
'hopefully' because this group six months ago went through a major
reorginization and I was, at the same time, selected for the role I
My group and the groups I cooridinate with were not the least little
bit happy about the previous process, which was very traditional. In
filling my role I began rolling out an incremental process (like I
have at other companies before). Good things are happening.
Visibility. Product owners (aka Product Management) now control the
priority of the work. We have a backlog (it's not being well groomed
by the product owners, as of yet). We can deal with the unknown.
Very thick specification documents are gone. Stories are somewhat
implemented. We can deal with the fact that software development,
even on products 20-plus years old, is not a defined process.
Increments of functionality are delivered every month. Burndown
charts. Lots of little successes. Still not to the empowered team,
yet, but we are getting there.
However, my boss, the Director of Operations, seems even less
comfortable than he was previously. I think this has a lot to do with
the fact that the _illusion_ of control is gone. Also, the project
management group (PMI trained and everything) is new, and is learning,
a lot; to say they are green is an understatement. The folks put in
the project management group were put in that roll because they are
known 'bulldogs' and executive management thought that was what was
needed to get projects under control. I've had to more than once
physically throw myself in front of their attempt to hand out Ghantt
charts to the team, Ghantt charts that no one on the team understood
and that did not resemble reality. I spend a tremendous amount of my
time coaching the project management group on how to be coaches.
Again, they don't like the fact that they don't have the illusion of
control. This despite the fact that management now has more project
control than ever.
Also, I am the husband of a great woman and the father of two
children, both boys. My wife homeschools the kids; before
homeschooling she got paid to be a "project manager". Why is this
important to this group? Because my wife tells me that raising and
educating children is a lot like project management.
I look forward to being a part of this group and look forward to
learning and hopefully being able to contribute to the common good.