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As it happens to the several available project management methodologies, in a certain day I heard about SCRUM. After the initial presentations, it seemed to interesting and worthy attention. On this post, I’m going to present a bit about my own experience applying this methodology.

At first it seemed to be quite easy to understand (some artifacts, ceremonies and roles). All that was needed was to break the requirements (which should also be prioritized) into smaller and implementable parts. Well, easy until it was time to start using it, and mainly to make a group of developers to understand and especially to accept the benefits of the new methodology. The group was relatively new on the company, but had become accustomed to use the traditional methodologies (waterfall).

At first it was created a team (two people) to understand the methodology and propose an implementation strategy in the organization, where the pilot projects would be run by a development team of short projects.
With the study finished and plan ready, we moved to the methodology implementation. We started with a lecture presentation of the methodology and then presented a proposal to use Scrum. Exactly during this presentation it was raised first resistance. One developer have heard that with this methodology the pressure on the team would increase. At this moment was possible to realize the problem of attributing long tasks (1, 2 weeks or even months in duration) to the designers. After all, with Agile, almost every day it’s expected to have progress on the task, or even, there would be something to be delivered.

In the beginning, I cannot say that we were really using the SCRUM completely. Maybe we were using a Scrumfall or Waterscrum. We started focusing on certain key aspects such as breaking the requirements into smaller parts with short duration (1-2 days). Another adaptation were the ‘almost’ daily meetings held two or three times a week, not to push too hard in raising named ‘pressure’, as it was interpreted in the beginning. With this, the team had time to get used to the new ways of working and break the initial resistance.

The group was adapting, and each new project (which lasted on average 1-2 months), we reinforced the aspects of the methodology. Moreover, to apply other aspects of the methodology we used a free tool (sprintometer). With it, besides facilitating the visualization of the status of the items from the product and sprint backlog, the team became interested in a measure of its own velocity. At this point in the process of deploying the methodology the team had understood its benefits and started contributing actively to its use.

So, to quantify more objectively the use of the methodology, we prepared:

  • a poll in which a set of questions was sent to the group.
  • a review meeting (that we can name the retrospective meeting of the methodology deployment project). At this meeting, all were encouraged to discuss the benefits and problems in using the methodology.

The overall result was excellent. The team felt more motivated. The commitment also increased since all influenced more directly the work progress. And the team created an intense dynamic of attributing tasks, focusing on results.

To summarize, some Questions and Answers.
Q: How long did it last? I mean, this project of implementing the Scrum Methodology.
A: Between 12-18 months (including initial study, training and pilot projects)

Q: Difficulties during the process?
A: Understand the essence of Scrum. Resistance to change. Adapting the methodology to the organizational environment. Implementation of duration estimate techniques. Adaptation of the interfaces to other organizational processes (which remained unchanged).

Q: What came next?
A: First was the formal certification (Certified Scrum Master). Then, the evaluation of other control tools (Trac and RTC).

Q: Current status?
A: SCRUM widely applied throughout the organization. And now, it’s being introduced the use of the RTC (Rational Team Concert).

Q: Next steps?
A: Continuous improvement of internal processes of the organization to increase productivity and improve quality.

Giovani Faria

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