Introducing Scrum

During the last three to four months I have been digesting as many new topics on agile as I can, it just so happened that most of them were around Lean and Kanban as that was what happened to be the path I was going down at the time.

Coaching and guiding teams can be done in various different ways; which is why having as many different tools in the box is in my opinion one of the strongest assets for any colleague at any level.

One thing I have found though, is that for new teams, many of whom are new or scared of agile; Scrum seems to be digested the easiest. I’m sure I don’t need to go into the history of Scrum or how it works but how do we encourage Scrum at City with new teams?

Have a conversation

This might seem crazy to some, but rolling Scrum down the hill to your directs or teams is not going to work in my experience.


The five dysfunctions of a team basically shows that for anyone to be invested in the problem that the team is trying to solve, they need to have had their voice heard during the formation of the solution.

Lack of commitment to pretty much anything comes as a direct result of fearing to put your own point across or not having the trust in your audience to understand the point you are trying to convey to your colleagues.

Suddenly shoving Scrum down throats and telling colleagues to work this way is not going to fix anything, as you need to bring the issues to the surface. If during that discussion your colleagues show similar thinking to yourself; you know you are on the right path.


The aftermath of one of our initial team chats;

The left hand side is the team discussing the issues. The blanked out items are individual projects, Business as Usual tasks (bugs etc), Technical Debt (automated testing and deployment etc) and then General Stuff which could be anything else Top right is then discussing the problems with that model; multitasking, unclear priorities, not talking to each other, knowledge pillars as well as very large feedback loops. The rest is my terrible analysis/drawing of backlog refinement, the rituals as well as velocity based feature planning and release coordination Use the Guides

There are now numerous guides for Scrum that can help any team get to grips with it quickly;

The Scrum Guide – The rules in which the game is played. Pretty simple to say you need to make sure you read this before you start. In fact, EVERYONE should read this. Scrum According to MM1 – I really like this poster as it’s big, bold and really easy for anyone to understand Scrum Checklist – Lastly the Scrum checklist. Created by the team at Crisp it gives a very easy reference to figure out how your current Scrum team sits towards the guides and also gives you something to shoot for. 5E9BAE4E-4780-40D6-A809-0D0C224A4E7205C90347-BE4B-44FC-B10D-DB254AB86C1C

Sprint 1 Prep.

So there you have it.

Scrum as it’s hard is a lightweight project management framework to help any team become focused on valuable work. It also brings major benefits to the business to have working software as early as often as possible and with it’s rituals there is no excuse for your team/department/yourself to not improve as you go with it.

Catch me on Twitter as @bstewart84