To answer “How scrum works,” most of the teams I've worked with first addressed the question: “where to start?” That question applies to both implementation and improvements on the Scrum framework locally. What we've found is that a "current state of the delivery framework" is a good place to start. From there we could aim where we want to go and what's the gap. Key points in most cases have been the artifacts and ceremonies. Agile is a toolset which has to be adapted to a context: from upper management to the Scrum team, objectives, approaches and way of working have to be understood and agreed on. Sharing a common vocabulary and workflow have slowly became a must.
As an Atlassian Certified Professional and a Certified Scrum Master, I've been supporting many Digital Transformations for organizations of all size. From start-ups to Fortune500, most of those transformation programs were set to either settle Scrum in a PMO or improve how Agile was helping deliver quickly and efficiently the best products with less frictions.
To get there, we usually work on multiple training axis such as training the Scrum team on the benefits and standards brought by Scrum, training the management team on the way the teams will work and finally bringing in tools to support those new processes. From my recent experiences in the Banking and Finance industry, I feel like getting a separate training on the framework and tools helped end users. Agile training have generally been done through an online self-service training platform which does not give a lot of feedback unfortunately: that's where I've tried to bring in Agile coaches as much as possible to get to know the teams and work with them on a dedicated approach. Once teams are ready, a tool training is expected to finalize the learning process by recalling the principles of Agility and how they are supported within the environment of work.
As far as roles and artifacts, each case is different but we've found a recurring issue: splitting the Project Manager role into two distinct positions with different goals, the Product Owner and Scrum Master. Again, a good vision of the whole Scrum framework is mandatory before transitioning to new roles. One of the key success points for that, is probably explaining the scope of each role and how they should work together with a shared team/project. As each role is a partial Project Manager role, in most cases, giving more projects to a newly nominated Product Owner or Scrum Master helped giving back some confidence on the workload. The same approach applied to the artifacts: while the Product backlog is generally understood quite well, the Sprint backlog and Product Increment approach are tougher to deal with! One of the best solution I've experienced to that is leveraging team building activities such as Serious Games or workshops in different contexts to discover the concepts instead of a formal training. As a general advice I would definitely recommend getting external coaches to bring the vision and internal key resources to spread the word and adapt the theory to the actual context.
So how does scrum work? It starts with education and training.
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