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If you don’t have this, don’t even start with Scrum

We’re all looking for ways to do things better and once you have some exposure to Scrum you’ll quickly realize this project management framework can revolutionize how you develop software in your organization.  After a quick read of what’s involved with implementing Scrum, it all seems pretty straightforward – a team, a Scrum Master and a Product Owner – how hard can that be?  We’ll cover the uniqueness of each of these roles in a later post but for now we’ll focus on what many will consider the most critical component to long term success of Scrum – upper management support.  If you don’t get it, you’re implementation of Scrum is bound to fail.

Management support can come in many ways from allocating dollars for training or a Scrum coach to creating an environment of patience where the delivery team is given time to learn the ropes and establish their cadence.  How you engage your management team may ultimately determine the level of support you receive from them.  As Ken Schwaber described at the Give Thanks for Scrum event in Boston on November 20, 2012 “Scrum requires striking a deal with the organization so they will let us do what we need to do as long as we [the delivery team] regularly delivers quality products, shows increased levels of productivity, and provides predictability and agility allowing the organization to achieve its mission”.   As your team gains experience it will be critical for you (as the Scrum Master or Product Owner) to ensure complete transparency with your management team by:

  • Locating your burndown/burnup charts in an area that your management is likely to see
  • Keep your backlog groomed and ready for presentation to your management team
  • Ask your management team to review your backlog on a regular schedule so that they can set prioritization
  • Invite them to your Sprint demo meetings

With a supportive and engaged upper management team, the biggest roadblock to a successful Scrum implementation has been removed.

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