10 Tips for Implementing Scrum Practices

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Many enterprises believe that simply adopting scrum practices will make their business agile. Scrum, a term named for the scrum formation in rugby, is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing product development. Success with scrum is about building a company culture that promotes collaboration, transparency, self-organization and responsibility while continuously improving through inspection and adaption, says Dwight Kingdon, Principal Consultant and Agile Coach at Mindtree, a global IT consulting firm specializing in corporate IT services and solutions. Teams that focus on the harder parts of agile practices, such as working through communication issues, distrust and lack of accountability, will become the true agile elite. “Scrum is an easy agile framework to get started with,” he says. “This makes it seem like such an easy concept, but it can be difficult to implement really well,” he adds. Here, Kingdon shares scrum rollout best practices that businesses can implement in order to avoid common pitfalls and bolster the benefits it has to offer.

Agile Transformation Will Take Time

Moving to an agile framework changes not only the way projects are implemented, but also an organization’s culture from managing contracts to delivering maximum business value in the shortest time. This shift will be gradual, but don’t let the time it takes discourage you from reaching your goal.

Focus on the Principles to Facilitate Best Practices

Successfully performing agile techniques means fully embracing agile principles and focusing on people, interactions and culture. This cultural shift will make the practices more sustainable in the long run.

Keep Your Agile/Scrum Rollout Simple

Agile tools shouldn’t be overemphasized. Don’t spend time getting a tool up and running instead of focusing on getting people to work together. The Agile Manifesto values individuals and interactions more than processes and tools.

Empower Your Scrum Teams to Be Self-organizing

Allow people on your team to make mistakes. They are more likely to learn from their errors if they have a sense of ownership over their work. Scrum masters exist to serve their team—not the other way around.

Maintain an Updated, Properly Refined Backlog

Keep your product backlog up-to-date and filled with plenty of relevant work for your team. Because agile development is iterative, there is almost always something to improve or refine. More work will get done if your team has a robust list of high-value features to develop.

Don’t Allow Team Members to Hide Behind the Scrum Master

Your team members know their problems better than anyone else. Encourage them to articulate their issues directly to the Product Owner. This will help build a flatter, more efficient team structure and reduce miscommunications.

Designate One Product Owner

Ensure that your product owner is involved in the day-to-day activity of the project team early. The more engaged they are, the fewer changes and revisions will have to be made later.

Maintain Time-boxed, Consistent Daily Standups

Keep standups consistent, to-the-point and respectful of your team’s time. When done correctly, a good standup will help increase transparency and communication—preventing issues from snowballing.

Encourage Transparency to Uncover Obstacles as Early as Possible

Open communication is the key to quick issue resolution. To encourage transparency, build a “free to fail” atmosphere in which team members feel safe enough to ask when they need help.

Conduct Retrospectives After Every Sprint

Sprint retrospectives are not optional. Agile is about continuous improvement. Progress cannot be realized without reflecting on how we work, what we do well, and what we can do better.