In fact the title should have been, “5 things you need to have in order to succeed with Scrum in a sustainable manner” but the title is already too long so…
In my career as an agile coach I have seen and worked with many organizations during the last 10 years, and the other day while driving in my car i was thinking to myself: what do the organizations that benefit greatly from Scrum have in common? This post will mention 5 attributes which I find that are very important in order to succeed with Scrum.
Disclaimer: This post does not provide a complete list or a cookbook - there is lots more to write about and I might share them in another post one day.
Commitment and buy-in
That is probably the first thing you want to have within your organization, and I'm not talking only about management support. I'm talking about wide support. Support and buy-in across as many people and teams you can get.
In order to get this buy-in and commitment, you want to involve as many people as it makes sense in planning the adoption, making the choice of investing time and effort, and this will most likely result in a faster and smoother transformation.
An environment that supports learning (sometimes in the form of failure)
In case you didn't notice, Scrum is a learning framework with some elements that support product development. But it is first and foremost a learning framework that helps you gradually move from where you are to where you want to be.
In practice, this means trying out new ideas and practices, experimenting with different structures, practices and processes and being very deliberate about learning.
It means understanding that some of the things will not work as expected and potentially even have a negative impact on the bottom line. That is totally ok and welcome where learning is important. try and make sure that your organization is ready for that, that the patience & encouragement for that is there.
High level of technical practices
I hope you understand that your business agility is constrained by your technical agility. In order to be agile it is crucial that developers can change the code without hesitation and not to be in a state when every little code change causes the system stability drop. When your teams are working in close collaboration and are using practices that support fast feedback such as “test-first” approach, continuous integration, pairing, mobbing and others, you dramatically reduce the risk of not being able to sustainably deliver an increment of your product every iteration, which is super important in order to support learning (see previous section).
The urge to be better - This is one of those things that are really fluffy and soft. If you ask people “do you want to be better at…” most of us will say “yeah, sure!”. examples are being in better shape, eating healthy etc. and most of us do nothing about it. So it's really not enough to say that you want to improve, you need the urge, the itch, real motivation to be better. In organizations It is commonly a cultural aspect. Some organizations were built with that in mind, some need to invest in creating this culture.
Understanding how to split backlog items.
This one seems as if it does not belong to this list, doesn't it? Well, unlike the previous 4 items, this one is very concrete, probably even easier to learn and implement than the rest and at the same time critical to prevent frustration and support the learning cycle.
So yeah, super important to learn how to split items so that the team is able to complete a minimum ~3-5 items in one iteration.
What else would you add to this list?