Introducing Scrum to non-software engineers
For me this is the first time to really go outside the minds of technical engineers (yes our testers I consider technical skilled) and I found it refreshing! I will not go into the details of the training but just share my thoughts and present you some of the attendees of the course. I’ll do this by comparing session for technical & non-technical people.
So, what is different with non-technical people?
- One cannot use comparisons with software development, which makes it for me a bit harder to explain sometimes, but they helped a lot by thinking and sharing idea’s together.
- Document writers are more familiar with end-users and thus story writing was more natural already to them than what is expected within waterfall software engineering teams.
- I found them overall more open to change than other groups.
- There are more similarities to ‘how’ they work, compared with technical teams than I expected.
- The XP Game (with little adjustments) was really appreciated and according to my opinion something one MUST have in an Agile course. You actually saw the people struggling, self-organizing and come to some heartbeat at the end! Great experience, also for myself.
- Also other games played: ball point game, tangled mess, doggy planning were a success and you actually saw people changing, bonding during the games. I really think we can actually considered this a very good team building activity
- And as usual you also see that for document writers it is no difference than for anybody else, people need to FEEL that things can be done differently and not just told.
To get the thoughts of the attendees I asked them to play the “perfection game” where one basically answers 2 questions: “I liked the session because of …” & “To make the session perfect I would…” followed by 2 others: “I think I would like to use Scrum because of…” & “I think I would not like to use Scrum because of..”.
Here are some copies of the results from the class, which rated the course on a scale from 1 (very bad) to 10 (excellent) an 8.5 This information might be interesting for others out there providing courses to non-technical people. I add some minimal information between brackets when I thought this might make the comment clearer and added my conclusion at the bottom of this post.
I liked the session because of…
- We could practice a lot and it gave a lot of new ideas
- Everything was new and may be of use later
- New and exciting view on performing tasks, planning, responsibility and workload
- Playing the iteration game (XP Game) really helped in showing how to gather experience and work as a team
- We learned the principles about scrum through play, we could really experience it in a practical way.
- I got to know my colleagues better.
- I learned new things about myself.
- The games brought us closer together and mad the theory more clearer to me
- I learned how to get better, faster results
- Even though team-building games might come over as a bit non-useful, these did not.
- Scrum brings a lot of new insight on how to make the team work better.
- Experimental learning; you experience and then you draw conclusions that are placed in the theory.
To make the session perfect I would…
- I am interested in how far Scrum relates to organizational structure (OCR – waterfall HR tool)
- More exercises that relate to real life situations, make it longer 3-day maybe?
- Build actual stories used in the team for the games played.
- I would like to have more theory & practice on planning and estimation
- Provide hand-outs during the course not only afterwards
I think I would like to use Scrum because of…
- It provides a lot of new thinking, especially useful for estimation purposes
- It would suit our way of organizing and make it considerably better
- Scrum to be a natural and logical system
- Trust the people in their capabilities
- Less frustration about decision imposed on team members.
- The advantage of getting things done at a sustainable pace, making progress as a team and company
- Good way to prioritise
- Open communication & visibility
- Me happy, my boss happy, everybody happy
- You will have a more motivated team, which is only good for the project and thus for the company
- I strongly believe Scrum helps to do more in less time providing a more satisfied feeling to the team
- It will help me keep an overview without having to control
- The transparent way of working & togetherness with other team members
- Group result, being a team, succeed and fail as a team, no finger pointing possible
I think I would not like to use Scrum because of…
- I’m not sure how to organize our team with a PO and SM having a team with different focuses (different product suites).
- It might take a long time for everyone to implement it and use it consistently. Meanwhile the backlog gets bigger.
- Everybody has to change and if some don’t it might make things more complicated.
- It might take a while to reach a good level of teaming and quality, which time might be something we don’t have.
- Different locations, people are working on different tasks.
- I wonder whether daily meetings don’t result in overkill
My conclusion out of the workshop is that people always will need coaching during the process to overcome the last hurdles of change. The biggest problem with the team above seems to be the link to our waterfall organization (which gets smaller) and having the time to actually change. But we got them on their way and most of the attendees do not see any reason not to implement Scrum for organizing their work and environment!
I’ll keep you posted whether or not they decide to go for a better world and how they progress. Thanks for reading and if you have pointers or experience with documentation authors yourself do not hesitate to add some comments they are very much welcome.
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