I have been reading a lot on Scrum to evaluate its use in our company. I've done a few trials runs with it where the teams were exploring different aspects of it to get some real world feel. I'm not sure though that Scrum is our best option.
I realize this question likely overlaps strongly with others, and I'm looking into those as well.
Here are the characteristics of my company:
- Small teams of 1-5 people
- Many projects (almost as many as employees in the company)
- Virtually no one works full time on any given project due to scope & funding of projects
- Projects require diverse skill sets, so people tend to hop around
- A few team members are remote
- Some projects are process-oriented while others are research & development with no clear path forward for how to complete the project
- Regulated environment requiring time tracking down to quarter hour
Given these features, it seems that having each project managed with Scrum won't work well since there's a lot of multi-tasking and flux between skill sets needed on one project versus another at any given time. Kanban might work better since we'd just focus on work-in-progress, but I'd be concerned about needing to properly maintain a "global view" of all tasking as well as making sure that timelines are still hit for each project. I can see applying a waterfall-like approach to the more straightforward, process-oriented tasks, but that's obviously not going to work for the R&D projects.
I'm not necessarily looking for a one-size-fits-all PM scheme, but I would like some general top-level guidelines for corporate level management and lower-level guidelines for the PMs on the ground, doing the individual management work.
In terms of tools, we use Jira for task assignment and management, but all projects are not managed with the same level of Jira integration. Many people still rely on MS Project, Excel, and/or notepad.
As an additional note, any time I've tried to discuss PM approaches with team members, they are highly skeptical and cynical about adopting some "process". I am typically hiding it from them that we're even trying something out. For example, many eyes roll when I utter the words "Sprint" and "Retrospective". That's a little outside of this question, but it's still a factor in the success of any approach.