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RE: Problems Persist

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  • Greg Tutunjian
    Ken,
    Message 1 of 3 , May 6, 2000
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      Ken,

      <<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"
      and view
      iteration as a food group. They are usually without significant business
      experience
      (not a bad thing) and almost always have never been exposed to business plans,
      requirements specifications, functional specifications, test plans, release
      plans,
      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
      awareness
      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
      isn't necessarily
      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
      practiced
      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
      pressure in
      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
      more clearly?>>
      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,

      Greg Tutunjian
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