Scrum…Really – Amy Thompson

Amy is a scrum master and one that wants to see people actually implementing Scrum properly.

When you want to transition you need to first prepare, then implement and adjust as the teams increase in maturity. There needs to be a common understanding of what the problem is. If people understand the issue then there tends to be increased buy in. When everyone understands the problem, the next step is to agree the strategy together. There needs to be the appropriate level of coaching applied, depending on where the team/company is. Be realistic with expectations as change is not easy and people will resist but keep going as it will be worth it!

Benefits of scrum
Never got worse than it was before in places she has implemented it,
It has increased productivity and productivity
Caused better quality software
Improved relationships between business and tech
Teams are happier
Disciplined scrum gets you there faster as it exposes problems earlier
Increased creativity
Always appreciated in the end!

Common problems

You need to be prepared to help both for
– transitions
– failed agile, it’s been tried once and didn’t work but trying again

What’s the problem and why do you want to be agile – stop and think.
Is it due to
– Delivery?
– Quality?
– Culture and relationships?
– Process?

Who wants to bring in scrum and why?
Do not implement if you know nothing or little about it and think it’s up to everyone else to make it work
Need to want it to be implemented and understand the benefits
Need to be willing to be a servant leader

Agile is still disciplined even though people assume it isn’t
Explain the plan, be transparent about actions
Set realistic timescales and expectations
HR need to be involved

Coach appropriate to your size
Coach for different areas, Board and SLT, tech teams, rest of company. Coaches need to be on the same page

Do it by the book to start with
Teams empowered to improve processes when they can explain why they want to make the changes
Resistance is just fear – that’s understandable
Reiterate the plan and the benefits
Get people to advocate
Champion every little success
Many small successes lead to many big ones
People have to see to believe
Resistance is generally short lived

Remember to be courageous and ride out the storm
Management have a responsibility to avoid failure at all cost
Teams have responsibility to change their attitudes
Coaches need a responsibility to have difficult conversations at all levels
It’s hard to be courageous
Everyone is afraid of failing

Reap the rewards of courage
There will be improvements in:
– Delivery patterns
– Behaviours
– Morale and responsiveness
– Reputation

Attrition isn’t necessarily a bad thing – culture changes
Don’t worry about losing knowledge – people will step up
Management need to step up
Things fail due to culture
Implement structure and discipline
Use Physical board – this is a tool for learning
Add WIP limits and work streams
The Board allows people to take ownership of their work
Expand the definition of done – sprint backlog, dev, test
– create a bullet point list for each
Set up your ceremonies, routine, familiarity and get more comfortable
Let ceremonies to fulfil their purposes
Stagger sprints – so scrum master is across teams
Tick off the agenda items

Play sprint Tetris to help see how much can be done and highlight dependencies.
Removes waste of game over as want to meet sprint goal

Immature teams – what’s best for me
Mature teams – what’s best for us
The team doesn’t always know best
Reasons for Decisions are different depending where you are in the maturity scale

Roles and responsibility
Have roles for a reason
Don’t mix the roles – quality of the roles are diluted

Maturity comes with experience, keep going, inspect and adapt.
Make sure you build on good practice and on a solid framework
Adhere to the manifesto and scrum principles


Amy is very passionate about what she does and one of the few coaches I think wouldn’t allow scrum but in an implementation.


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