Time to get more agile?

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Agile Scrum - Let it work for you - yes you! 

Agile - it seems to be the new business buzzword. Everyone wants their business to be “agile” but what does that mean in reality? And what about this concept of “Agile Scrum”? Is it a genius new business concept, a methodology best left to the engineers, or something to do with the All Blacks?


Let’s cut to the chase - the only valuable question here is, can Agile Scrum help your business?? Well that depends. Do you want your project teams to be highly engaged and effective, turning out better work in less time? Do you want them to be able to “roll with the punches” as requirements change, while maintaining amazing visibility and productivity? Yes? Then read on... 


The “agile manifesto” was created in 2001 as a way of improving the ability of Software Engineers to deliver to the market by radically changing the way they approach work. Scrum is one of a number of methodologies that allows Agile to be applied - it also happens to be the most popular. Agile Scrum has become arguably the most common approach for software teams internationally because of the huge benefits it provides.


 So here’s what’s happening now. The rest of us have been sitting back, watching these Agile Scrum software teams and getting more and more jealous - because Agile Scrum is a seriously cool way to work. So not surprisingly, other business functions are starting to get in on the act, with some very exciting results. 


What does it mean to adopt Agile Scrum? First off, it means empowered, cross functional teams with no hierarchy (that’s right, no boss!) working on projects by breaking them down into little bite-sized pieces (called a sprint). Projects no longer have a full plan created on the first day - because in the real world, stuff changes. The customer becomes integrated into the project at every stage, so they always know exactly where things are at and can alter their requirements as the project progresses. It’s customer engagement on speed! 


Agile Scrum is traditionally applied to full-time development teams, but can be just as successfully applied to project teams. My own experience outside engineering includes part time project scrum teams from HR, marketing and even top executives. The benefits they've experienced include increased engagement, empowerment and confidence of team members, greater focus due to the removal of “noise” that often distracts teams, a huge increase in the visibility of projects and bottom line - projects progressing faster and delivering better results. Downsides? It takes a little bit for teams to get used to a new way of working, it takes management to be on board, and it takes discipline. Serious discipline. But you know what they say, nothing worth doing is easy. 


I know what you’re thinking - how do I find out more? A google search of Agile Scrum will turn up a huge amount of great readings, free tutorials and resources. Hunt down an organisation in your area using scrum and go for a visit. Or of course you can always get in touch with me, I’d love to chat. 


Marie Johnston, Professional Scrum Master