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What have you seen go wrong when introducing SCRUM?

Let me preface the question by telling you that our company doesn't have any formal "thou shalt..." processes in place right now at all, at least when it comes to the software development life cycle. Some areas are doing things fairly well (T/BDD at least), but we don't have a very defined process.

Our project lead was just sent to a project management training and he came back interested in Scrum (I think he just really likes the cool word ;) which is great from my perspective because for the last month or so I've been telling co-workers that Agile practices are right down our alley. Mostly we just lack the formality/structure that a methodology provides, so at times we lean a little more towards code and fix, even if individuals try to make their own corner of the world a little better.

So we're about three months into this project that he estimates to be about a 2-year project, and he wants to start adopting Scrum methods (which I'm pretty excited about). All of the developers aside from our lead are junior developers, and I think I've got the most experience when it comes to Agile practices, and it's not that much (meaning I did some BDD on a project a while ago and have watched a few Uncle Bob videos).

So the current project health is OK. We have zero test coverage, so that's not good, but our team gets along well and I think we're all fairly strong coders.

That being said, what sorts of issues should we be aware of trying to implement Scrum/Agile?

  • One of the most important issues is "search". If you search for "Scrum Issues", you'll find dozens of related questions. It would be good to read a few of those and determine how your question is actually unique. – S.Lott Jan 30 '12 at 22:17
  • didn't think to add issues, I just searched Scrum and didn't see anything particularly apt – Wayne Werner Jan 30 '12 at 23:20
  • "what sorts of issues should we be aware of". I just used your words. – S.Lott Jan 30 '12 at 23:27
  • I guess that's the perils of posting near the end of my work day - brain fatigue. At least that's what I claim ;) – Wayne Werner Jan 31 '12 at 2:44

Dont Force it, determine what your team embraces and rejects, and try to come up with a thoughtful implementation of "scrumming" that works for your team. You can actually have mock "scrums" when having these short brief brainstorming discussions

Once everyone's got an idea of what everyone's willing to do and what's trying to be accomplished.. Define what the team agrees to adhere to (testing procedures, documentation, code comments, how to determine user stories, who's the scrum master etc..), create some sort of "bible" (which in my opinion should be like 10 bullet points that can print in large caps one a single piece of paper) that new comers can easily follow, etc.. and hopefully you guys will realize the benefits..

In my experience, i've had inexperienced people embrace it aimlessly without really knowing what's going on, and in the same room, have old dogs who think it's a waste of time and think "testing in place" provides the same benefits as unit tests.. luckily, sounds like you wont have that issue.. hopefully..

I think scrumming can be a useful tool and really bring a team together.. however, if you try to bulldoze one persons methodology onto a team that is set in there ways, you're more than likely to "P" some people off, and might have to start mirco-managing, which no one wants to do (well, my boss from a couple jobs ago seemed to thrive with it.. lol)..

good luck!

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