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Why you need Methodologists!

Published by Christopher Daily on May 10th, 2012 - in Agile, Business Musings, IMO, Scrum, Software Development

You have identified your product owner and your sprint team. You have gotten everybody trained. The product backlog is groomed and ready for sprint planning. Congratulations. You are ready to start your first iteration. Right?

Maybe. You can certainly start your first sprint. You may even get through the first two or three sprints. You may even produce deployment-ready code. However, you will have a hard time sustaining Scrum. Why? Most organizations are made up of people who have been living a Waterfall career. They have been creating their project charters, communication plans, and their 1000 line project plans, all the while believing that these artifacts will lead to a successful project. Those beliefs don’t go away after just a couple of months.

That is where a Scrum methodologist will help. What is a Scrum Methodologist? By the definition in the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a methodologist is someone who studies methodology. A Scrum methodologist studies Scrum. If you call your local consulting firm and ask for a Scrum methodoligist, you will probably hear silence on the other end of the phone.

Within the Scrum world, the closest you might find is a Scrum coach. You might be tempted to hire a contract Scrum coach. Don’t do it. Hire a Scrum methodologist. At FNF, I decided needed to build one. I found a guy who was passionate about Scrum and started talking to him about why Scrum works. We talked a lot about the effects of what happened. We worked together to start building training. Guess what happened? I cloned myself. We ended up with somebody who is more passionate than I am about Scrum. I changed this guy’s job description to Scrum Coach. I have found the best way to implement change is to focus on why we want to change.

How has it turned out? So far, the guy is a hit. While I will conduct a training class from time to time for fun, I don’t have to any more. Because two of us are available, we each have somebody to compare notes. Because all he does is coach and evangelize Scrum, he can concentrate on applying Scrum without all the baggage of the day-to-day grind. Without other duties, he is available to coach. We continue to use the Scrum-but term much like we do hot fix. We do it when we are forced, but it hurts so we move to fix it quickly.

I don’t think we would have made it to this point without a Scrum coach. I’ll let you know how it works out.
Thanks for coming in today.

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