Migrating to Scrum: A real life scenario

About 4 years ago, I got an opportunity to join an experienced team to build up a joint-venture software company in my country (parent from Europe) that has the strong objective to implement CMMI framework from day 1 and achieve level-3 within 1.5 years both at onshore and offshore sites. I was overwhelmed as I already had formal training on CMMI from QAI (India) experts and had hands on experience (as PM as well as PEG member) to implement processes in real teams to reach level-3. As readers can understand, I didn’t miss that once in a lifetime chance!

Me and my team flew to Europe for a month to have formal training on CMMI by Trimentus (India) and to kick off the process formulation and implementation phase in a ‘begin all with best things’ approach. Aha wait…I am telling the CMMI story again, confused with the title? Readers, gimme a moment, I’ll come to the point.

We tried CMMI for sometime, soon realized it is too heavy for a company like us and also for the values we believed in. We turned to MSF Agile (Team Foundation System from Microsoft was our core tool) and then thru a dynamic movement from our European CTO – we hugged SCRUM for the first time. Readers please note the interesting migration path – I personally have gone thru all of them and that’s why I got the opportunity to better understand the differences among traditional and agile approaches and why do we need Agile/Scrum.

Being the only Project manager at the offshore side, I faced multiple challenges at the same time. Learn the values of Scrum and act as a Scrum Master for the new Scrum teams. Kept heavy communication and coordination with onsite Scrum practitioners to achieve same level of expertise and disciplines across the organization without any ambiguities. And most importantly, convert from a PM to a true Agile Leader.

We started slowly taking baby steps. We formed separate scrum teams at onsite and offsite. We introduced daily SOS among cross-regional teams. We started everything by scrum book, bit by bit. Even I was using a digital timer to maintain the time box everywhere. After few sprints with lot of hurdles, we started feeling the comfort and experienced the real advantages of Scrum. Then we started playing with scrum – push it, press it, stress it – to meet our custom needs. Individual teams started implementing the same framework in their own way best fit to their own domain and context. Back in 2007, we moved to the distributed Scrum model – one team, one goal, one code base, members from different geographical locations.

Since then we are eating the best fruits of Scrum and everyday inventing new meaning of it and assigning new meaning to it. In my next post, I’ll try to explain some of the tips and techniques that we were scrumming!

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