Based off of my previous question Can Scrum be suited to smaller development teams?, we have now picked out the elements of Scrum that would best fit our team and business, however, my Boss has suggested that we implement the processes gradually.

I'm unsure about this myself as I fear that we would not make the transition to the Scrum method that we have tailored completely and we would still be in a jumbled mess we're in now.

If we were to do it gradually, what would be the best way to go about it (not necessarily Scrum, but the recommended way, if any, to make the transition to a different methodology)?

  • What size of organization? That might affect the responses... – SBWorks Feb 14 '11 at 8:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The real question underneath your question is how to make people adapt to change. That's a tough one, and that's the hardest part of changing processes.

If possible, have a discussion first with your team about problems with the existing process, and how Scrum (or whatever process you picked) can solve those problems. That'll give them buy-in to willingly follow you, and not see it as just "overhead" or "more work."

For Scrum specifically, it's hard to adopt gradually, because you break down the work differently, and finish your "work cycle" in two or three weeks instead of a longer period. Training people may help (whether a seminar, book, or presentation).

One enterprise company I was at adopted scrum by starting with a first sprint that was a month or two long. (They didn't break the work down any differently, but just agreed to deliver most of it in a couple of months instead of piece-meal in two-week iterations.) From here, they started shortening their sprint length and breaking down their work accordingly.

Also, Scrum and Agile are usually custom-tailored to some amount; there's nothing wrong with that. That's how you get the most benefit out of it for your given situation.

  • You've got it right there, I've already come up against the "more work" attitude from a couple of team members, although they can already see some of the main problems with our current process. So I'm unsure how to proceed from that aspect. We have a team meeting tomorrow so I'll try and discuss it further then. – LiamGu Feb 9 '11 at 12:42
  • The best thing is to sell them on the benefits. Show them how it removes pain from their life and makes things easier. That always motivates people. Then again, some people are just set in their ways and will not want to change. You might not get 100% buy-in from the whole team, but maybe you won't need it... it's a tough call. – ashes999 Feb 9 '11 at 13:16
  • Ashes, I really like your response. I agree with you in all points. – Geo Feb 9 '11 at 17:56

Do a lot of upfront education, planning and communicating ---then make the switch cold-turkey.

Make sure your clients know that you'll be making a switch and that there may be hiccups. So, choose the cut-off date wisely based on current commitments. Share with them what you plan on doing, get their feedback and address their concerns.

If you do it gradually, you're opening yourself up to nit-picking and a long process of incremental fault finding that will distort your original vision or kill it entirely.

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