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Archive for January, 2010

Are Traditional Management Practices and Scrum Incompatible? Not So, Says Cohn

Right now, one of the hottest topics in the Scrum community is whether or not traditional, PMI-style project management can coexist with Scrum or agile methods. Mike Cohn, an agile guru and an early champion of Scrum, believes they can be compatible, but introducing new ways of working needs to be handled sensitively to manage the disruption, confusion, and possibly fear that accompanies any large-scale work-place change.

Scrum and agile practitioners have long held that the largest impediment to a successful agile or Scrum adoption is simply the culture of the organization. It is human nature for change to be scary, so how that change is presented to the organization can make an enormous difference in how employees respond. Quite simply, organizations should heed the tenets of Scrum and agility, which include transparency and frequent communication. When every member of an organization is kept in the loop about a change, there’s little room to feel “in the dark.”

According to Cohn, there are four major steps an organization can take to smoothly introduce agile practices—and pulling it off requires ample sensitivity. To summarize, he suggests that Scrum and agile change agents do the following: 1) “negotiate and set expectations up front,” 2) “fit your reporting to current expectations,” 3) “invite them [key stakeholders] into your process,” and 4) “reference a success.” It’s strong advice that’s worth a look. You can read the entire post here: http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/tai/2009/12/the-art-of-compromise-scrum-and-project-governance.php