Setting the Stage for the Agile/Scrum Posts

Setting the Stage for the Agile/Scrum Posts

This is the first post in a series about Agile/Scrum and how it fits into software development at the enterprise scale. Well, when I say series, there isn’t going to be a cogent sequence of articles that build on top of one another. This isn’t a recipe book for success. And that’s important to understand that up front because I don’t believe that you can provide a one size fits all solution at the enterprise level.

Because each enterprise has it’s own culture. And because enterprises are big, there’s incredible  momentum against cultural change.

You may know your pigs from your chickens, have product owners on board, and keep the backlog groomed more meticulously than George Clooney. But if your VP is used to dictating when you release, and specifying what will be in it before you begin, you will have some work on your hands.

What I am not going to be writing about under this category is a generic ‘how to do agile’ guide. You can find lots of those online, and in various training courses. There’s also plenty of consultants who can come in and take you through the standard steps to implement Scrum or Agile. And, if you’re a small shop building customer websites, or you’re writing internally consumed software, that’s all you need.

However, if you have five hundred and fifty engineers distributed between APJ, India, Europe and the US, twenty million lines of code, product managers wanting new features, twelve years of technical debt and very high profile customers who can bring enormous pressure to bear on your boss’s, boss’s, boss’s, boss’s, boss; Cookie cutter approaches just don’t cut it.

And that’s what I mean by momentum. You often have to work around, or work within, the organisational and cultural constraints that exist at your organisation. What I’m hoping these posts will do is help you identify those constraints before you reach them. When and how, or even if, you’ll encounter the situations I describe will depend on your organisation.

Hence why I’m writing them in no particular order.

I hope that my experiences with my small thirty five man team inside the organisation I described above as it went through a number of VP’s and a variety of methodologies will save some of you from the traps we fell into, or at least allow you to fall into them with your eyes open.