Agile

Entering Life After Scrum

TeamAs recently discussed in the 2015 review, more and more Agile teams are starting to sway away from Scrum and lean towards a different methodology – Kanban. While this may be surprising at first, there actually is good reasoning behind this switch and possibility of this trend continuing into the 2016. Will you be switching as well? Let’s see.

The need for order

For most companies, Scrum has come at a time, when there was a need for a more flexible and at the same time a clearer approach to project management. This was especially true in the case of software development teams that lacked processes and often produced results, just not the ones management was looking for.

Adding Scrum into the mix created clarity in the process, forced the teams to plan work ahead and allowed more productivity as the teams were now working on the most important tasks, instead of just working on something that was planned. On top that, after each sprint, there would be something to present as a finished result and to appease the client proving there is progress.

The change was not easy, but using Scrum has thought the team members responsibility, planning and allowed to improve after each sprint. As the sprints went on, however, this feeling has slowly, but definitely changed and the team spirits dropped.

The lack of morale

You would think that having a clear process and increasing the productivity would improve the spirits, but even after getting everything in order, some Scrum teams were still unable to fulfill all the work they have planned for a sprint. No matter whether they estimated to work at 100% or at 25% of their capacity, the specificity of the field or the project ensured that there was still work to be done after the time of the sprint ran out.

In such cases, no matter how much more the team produced and achieved with Scrum, the members became demotivated and perceived themselves as failures sprint after sprint. This crushed the team morale and forced to look for fault where there is none to be had. Seems unfair, right? The good thing is that some have already found a solution and it comes by the name of Kanban.

Time for another switch

You may seem reluctant to consider the possibility that changing a project management method after you have just changed it to Scrum can provide a solution. And this is very understandable considering the fact, how much effort it has probably cost you, especially switching from a more conservative method. The good news, however, is that implementing Kanban will only take a pinch of that effort in comparison.

The structures of Scrum and Kanban are very similar, with one major difference being the planning of work. Instead of planning for a sprint, Kanban teams plan for a continuous process – they are no longer obliged to achieve a certain amount of work in a predefined time, instead they have a clearly prioritized list of tasks to be tackled on next.

This removes the pressure and the disappointment created by the sprints themselves and allows the team to work effectively, while at the same time feeling the sense of accomplishment and progress. Also, as process is usually already developed and groomed at this stage, it relieves the team from the redundant retrospective meetings and only asks for planning meetings when planning actually needs to be done, instead of a predefined time.

Thinking about another methodology change after switching to Scrum, can seem like a strange idea, however, for some teams this is nothing more than the next logical step. After grooming the process and learning how to organize the process, the reigns need to be let up a little to keep motivation and good work up and for this, Kanban is a great choice.

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