In working with one of the teams at one of my current clients, the team said they didn’t want to do Scrum. At this organization, there is a lot of Scrum. Most of the teams there are Scrum teams. The team in question decided that Scrum wasn’t working for them. They wanted to try something else that is agile. So I asked them what they wanted to do.
They said that they spent two days laying out the work they need to get done for the next release. The release is about two months away so doing some planning toward that release timeframe doesn’t seem bad. They laid out the work to be done in weekly increments and agreed to measure their progress and replan every week. They also agreed to have weekly retrospectives so that the team could provide feedback and adjust.
They have also set up a team room so that they could work together on a daily basis. This allows them to focus on getting their work done and to swarm on problems.
So to sum that up:
- Created and working on a release plan for a 2-month release
- Using a 1-week cadence for meetings and replanning
- Using retrospectives to help the team reflect and tune their process
- Working together in a team room
It certainly isn’t Scrum. That doesn’t mean it isn’t agile. It is allowing the team to react to the business needs. It is helping the team understand their progress and set expectations with their business partners. They asked me if it was OK for them to follow this plan. I had to tell them it was OK. If it works it will be good for them. It will give them a base to build on. It will give them a chance to continue to grow and improve their process as they learn more and adopt more agile practices.
What would I like them to adopt next?
- Continuous Integration including unit tests
- Functional test automation
- Pair programming or code review before code check-in
Depending on this experiment goes, we will tweak things as we go. We may need to change our processes or practices in order to improve. This plan allows us to get started with something the team thinks they can commit to and to be able to reflect so that we can improve as we go.
I have used Scrum a lot. I believe it can really help the team to become more agile. That doesn’t mean it is the only way for a team to become agile. Scrum isn’t the only path to agility.