RE: [scrumdevelopment] Problems Persist
- I think one problem is that many startups in the internet space are founded
by charismatic guys who may at one time have been hands on technically. At
any rate they tend to have a lot of ego invested in the venture. It's
difficult for this type of person to let go enough to stop at setting a
vision and removing obstacles.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ken Schwaber [mailto:virman@...]
> Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000 6:52 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Problems Persist
> I've been discussing Scrum with a number of Internet startup's and
> have been surprised. Many of the problems that Scrum solves persist
> and the word on how easy it is to solve them using Scrum seems to be
> narrowly distributed.
> In particular, the problem of engineers thinking that product
> management can't make up their mind, and that product management and
> marketing think engineering can't deliver persists, along with the
> floundering that results in no new releases. The other surprise
> (which I guess shouldn't be) is the lack of awareness that
> management's primary goals are to set a vision and to remove
> Any ideas on how to get these and Scrum's other concepts out more
> Ken Schwaber
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<<Ken Wrote: In particular, the problem of engineers thinking that product
management can't make up their mind, and that product management
and marketing think engineering can't deliver persists, along with the
floundering that results in no new releases.>>
I view these conditions as cultural differences that exist (and persist)
between individuals and groups, even very small groups, and especially
in startups. The non-engineers in startups usually come with experience
in business/management. That's their form of "capital". With that experience
comes preferences and biases (human nature, not a bad thing) towards methods
and results that make them comfortable (and made them candidates for the
startup.) The engineers come from a different place. They "get it done"
iteration as a food group. They are usually without significant business
(not a bad thing) and almost always have never been exposed to business plans,
requirements specifications, functional specifications, test plans, release
production support plans, ... that the "experienced" non-engineer has come
to rely on.
These (latter) devices are the non-engineers tool kit.
<<Ken Wrote: The other surprise (which I guess shouldn't be) is the lack of
that management's primary goals are to set a vision and to remove obstacles.>>
Articulating a vision takes a willingness to fail, and removing obstacles
glamorous work, either. Neither of these conditions are necessarily
appealing, if one thinks
one is a manager without a net. If scrum is not thoroughly adopted and
throughout the organization, the non-compliant individuals and groups will
stick to their
non-scrum views and practices. It makes them feel good, and with the
startups and other fast-paced groups, feeling good is not a bad thing.
<<Ken Write: Any ideas on how to get these and Scrum's other concepts out
Yes. Give it away, early and often. Look what it did for Unix.
Be present at these forums:
- Career Day at Business Schools. Distribute Scrum material to everyone
who comes through the doors.
Company representatives, interviewees, faculty, loaders, etc. Point them
to the web site (www.controlchaos.com)
and provide them with 3-5 pages of very tactical information in addition
to a 1-page strategic assessment
(of why Scrum is the culture for their company. It's not a methodology
[IMHO], it's a culture.)
- Professional Society Software Engineering and Best Practices Conferences
and Workshops. Many of these are
held locally (ASQ, PMI, IEEE, ACM, etc.) and many of the managers and
technology directors who attend are seeking
streamlined approaches to delivering systems (which translates to keeping
their jobs.) A new culture comes when groups
(versus individuals) adopt scrum, so why not "get them" while they are
traveling in packs!? You can speak at any of the local
chapter (monthly) meetings of these organizations as well. If people are
coming to presentations after a day of work, it's for more
than the food and networking. Same handout (as above.) Do it
annually. Speak to the success stories.
- Guest lecturer in Computer Science and Management Programs:
Undergraduate and Graduate
Get the word out in the senior years of these programs. These students
and faculty are looking for "real" experience while still in
the classroom. Bring material for everyone. Drop extras in the faculty
office near the mail boxes, next to the coffee machine,
next to the copier, etc. If you want to get to students, put material in
the computer labs and next to the fast food machines.
Look for additional help in doing this from amongst the successful scrum
adoptees. Ask for a 1-day commitment per year to
staff these and other efforts to both defer your costs as well as to put
proven practitioners in front of these audiences.
(Has an article discussing Scrum appeared in local daily papers' business
sections? Even an editorial mention, with the URL,
reaches many of the people you are trying to reach. Get a "success story"
to call/write the appropriate editor. Consider writing a guest
editorial for one of the local newspapers as well.)
Thanks for listening,