Getting Down and Scrummy

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

You’ve read about the Scrum framework for IT development projects, attended some orientations on Scrum and want to introduce it into your project framework. The only problem is that your organization subscribes to a traditional Waterfall approach to project management and is somewhat resistant to changing its methods. So how can you adapt Scrum-like tools and techniques within a Waterfall project management environment? What can you do to reduce resistance and reap the benefits Scrum has to offer? In short, how can you get down and scrummy within a waterfall world? Here are some ideas you might find useful.

Before getting into it, be advised that what follows is not for the pure-of-Scrum heart as the approaches presented reflect ways to integrate Scrum-like concepts into a traditional project management framework without labeling them as Scrum or Agile. In this way, any stigmas the organization has toward these frameworks due to the terminology used is hopefully mitigated.

A quick overview of the Scrum framework will help to lay the foundation for abstracting Scrum-like concepts and attributes. The Scrum Alliance offers the following definition for Scrum:

“Scrum is an agile framework for completing complex projects. Scrum originally was formalized for software development projects, but works well for any complex, innovative scope of work.”

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