Dec 08

Make sacrifices if you want to change

zurbaran-agnus-dei-lamb-of-god-madrid-1339x800“We only do scrum where and when there are problems within the company” the guy said on the other end of the table.”Otherwise we just keep doing what we are doing”. I almost dragged his ass across the table. I often hear this. People think that Scrum is something you only do when you want to solve a problem, as if it is a short term fix. The silver bullit you can fire and then all is solved. Well I hate to bring this to you but it is not. Scrum has to do with organizational change. Once you start to implement, the effect will be noticeable throughout the business. I agree that Scrum is not something you do just for the fun of it. You have to realize why you need it and what you hope to achieve by implementing it. But once it is running it is very difficult to go back.

I also agree that Scrum is not something you do when things are going great. It is something you do when things are not going great. When revenues from developed work are not up to the standard or could be better. It is not so a team can perform better and management can lean back in comfort. And when suddenly things change and work is not delivered as planned by sales, you stop Scrum and go back to the old way of working with micro management. I also see this a lot. “We really have to deliver on that deadline so we quit Scrum until things are smooth again”.

The biggest challenge is to get a business to see that when you want more revenues, better quality work and delivery of work that really has value, you can work with Scrum but you need to go all the way. It is organizational change. Everything needs to change. People have to start working differently. The old ways will have to go, and if that means that people have to change or even have to go, then so be it. I’m a big fan of Ricardo Semler and he said, more or less in these words, that a company is not a family. People come to work, provide a service and get paid for that. The company needs to grow and make profit. And when it doesn’t, you need to change and improve where you can. The company is not for providing jobs, it is to make money. If your company is doing the right thing then people delivering the right thing together can be happy in doing so.

So if you embrace Scrum you need to be willing to change everything. To radically reorganize everything. People who are willing to see this and want to move with this change, keep them and help them where you can. But as soon as you stumble upon conformism, act with your goals in mind. You want to make money and be a successful business. You want people to work together on things that matter so they can produce a good quality product so you can satisfy customers. You do this with people who are willing to do so. You don’t want to do this with people who are out there to save their own ass and their own job.

It may sound a bit harsh but keep in mind why you want change. Why you want departments and people to start working differently. What is the goal of what you do. Is it keeping people within your company happy by solving problems when they occur or is it to be successful and change so problems won’t occur? It’s not why you want to do Scrum. It is why you want to change. The you can look at what you want to change and the how can be with Scrum (thanks Simon). You need to see this first and make sure the people who are at the helm see and understand this and know that you need to change and make sacrifices in order to excel.

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