This entry offers some guidelines to management who are trying to adopt an agile technique. There may be many reasons why you are doing this, hopefully among them are an increased productivity and possibly also greater connectivity with your end users.
Avoid forcing project managers into scrum master roles
It can be tempting to rename your project managers as scrum masters and place them as your ‘leaders’ but this can cause a number of problems. If you really need a layer of management then consider something like a development manager, but you must realize that the emphasis is shifting from detailed planning to self organising, alongside developing a focus on quality. The development manager role should focus on quality and relieving the team of distractions (such as hiring and on-boarding). In addition, the development manager can focus on mentoring and team development. The ability to intervene for strategy alignment and architectural conformance is also another plus for this role, but when it comes to the velocity and developer output, the scrum master is king.
Listen to the team’s estimations and try not to enforce deadlines
Initially this one can be hard for management; the desire to over promise to business stakeholders or deliver on important dates can be quite intense. If you need to be date-focused, then support the team by minimising features and understanding where technical debt will build up. The strength of technology leadership should be in convincing stakeholders to take a stable delivery with a possible reduction in day 1 features.
Don’t get too hung up on fixed length sprints
Quite often a technology leader will convince the business to take the agile route because there will be a meaningful delivery every three weeks. Management needs to explain that what constitutes a meaningful delivery will change over time . Communicating that the new world can build technical debt just as quickly as the old world is important. Celebrating that you have shifted to a quicker feedback loop is valid but explaining that clean up and refactoring will be required along the way, is just as important.
Take stock of your adoption needs
Different organisations will adopt at different rates. Projects will need different levels of effort to get the various key roles working. Each environment will need a different level of scaffolding work to achieve CI/CD.
Some red flags to watch for:
Some amber flags to be aware of: