In a company that is favorable to use the scrum framework but use only selected and scattered part of the process and don't want to apply fully the methodologies, what are the steps to start SCRUM?

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We are currently using an custom project management method and are all (management and development) unsatisfied with it. Management applied an agile approach by using a custom scrum-like process (we now have time-boxed sprint and goals) without more success. I failed to convince management to, as a remedy, stick fully to the framework.

What could I put in place, as a first step, to move toward scrum?

  • 3
    What would you (or the company) expect the benefit of only partial Scrum adoption to be?
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Apr 17, 2020 at 21:27
  • Do you have 1 step deploy? That would be my biggest advice. But I don't want to write it as an answer if you already have that down. Apr 20, 2020 at 9:38
  • According to me, there is few benefit of a partial Scrum adoption. My company think that Scrum is barely having sprints and goals. As I failed to convince them that's not enough, my idea was to process step by step.
    – FloFu
    Apr 20, 2020 at 11:58

3 Answers 3


Start with a Retrospective. Gather data about the teams experience. Find the pain points. People are most motivated to find ways to reduce their pain. Brainstorm solutions, find champions for those the agreed solutions. I often have a designated buddy to support the champion.

You might have to talk to management separately about what they are trying to achieve by interfering. Usually it is about control. Find out what it will take to reassure them. Maybe its a demo at the end of the sprint or at a regular cadence if your doing Kanban. Maybe its some sort of regular report. I found there are all sorts of fun metrics you can exact from your task tracking, version control, static analysis, support ticketing, build systems etc. I am a big fan of automated reports and dashboards not such a fan of hand made ones. You could use information radiators. Or maybe they just need a regular chat.

Ultimately its about trust. You should encourage them to talk and drill in deep, not accepting anything at face value. Don't be in a hurry to rush in and explain things. Let them have their say and make sure they feel listened to.

If you need to change a practice go back to the principle behind the practice and ask is there another practice that follows the same principle. If you need to adjust a principle go back to the value behind the principle and ask is there another principle that will help promote the same value.

However do not lose sight of what you are trying to achieve.


The part of your question that I think is really important is "and don't want to fully apply". It is important to note that the Scrum Framework is meant to work in its entirety. Many parts require other parts in order to function properly. Many organizations struggle to implement Scrum all at once, but if their intent is to get there, this can result in success. However, if they don't have the intent to implement the whole framework, then attempts to do so may be futile or even damaging.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't try anything though. A great place to start might be retrospectives where the team leaves with a concrete, experimental improvement item. Their action items may be some practices that scrum shares, or they may be other things entirely, but it starts a path of improvement.

You can also look at Lean approaches and/or Kanban. Lean is a foundational element of Agile and Scrum and you'll see a lot of commonality. One warning with Kanban is that it is not simply a to do-doing-done board and no constraints. Find someone who really understands the Kanban approach to help with implementing it if you go that direction.


Do you have a supporter in your company? Your manager, your director maybe? Have you discussed the reasons why they want to use Scrum at all? What would be the benefits of using Scrum? Are they buying into it? Or are you alone on this journey?

These are great questions to ponder over.

Then, you need to think about what Scrum brings on the table, and what's in it for the rest of the organization? Why would they buy into adopting something (that they clearly don't know) and go through the uncertainty? If it's just to call yourselves Agile, then you might be in the area of AINO or zombie Scrum. Again, recognizing whether you're at that area is a great benefit, because then you know your limitations. And knowing your limitations can save you an enormous amount of time and frustration around trying to do something alone, potentially unsuccessfully.

Last, ask your team(s): what do they think about Scrum and what benefits do they potentially see into adopting it? Lay down the options (on where to start). This should give you an indication of where to start doing first. Remember, it's a collaborative effort, and your team is on the epicenter of this.

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