When faced with transitioning from traditional waterfall development to Scrum, there are many unknowns and misunderstanding to be overcome. In some organisation this breeds significant resistance to the transition. If left unchecked this resistance to change can derail the whole transition. It is a great idea to find out what unknowns and misunderstanding exist and deal with them one by one. However that approach is not scalable and some issues will remain as the switch over looms.
What I have used and seen to be successful in change resistant organisations is to stage the transition. Teams change from Waterfall to Waterfall Iterations for a couple of months, then the switch over to Scrum. Teams can be switched over a couple at a time, so that they can learn from and support each other. There is a co-ordination cost to having teams operating in different approaches; however it is generally worth it to smooth out the transition.
Waterfall IterationsThis phase introduces everyone to Iterations, co-location, cross functionality, Product Owners and Scrum masters.
- Cross functional, co-located teams of 5 to 9 people.
- Teams use Sprint Retrospectives, Task boards, Burn-downs and Daily Stand-ups just as in Scrum.
- Iteration planning occurs every two weeks, where the Product Owner works with the team to pull in work items that have been created by whoever in waterfall created/allocated work items.
- Iteration Review occurs every two weeks where the team demonstrates their completed work items to the Product Owner.
- Functional testing carried out by the team with in the Iteration.
- System testing carried out by separate testing team, outside of the Iteration.
ScrumThe switch to Scrum from Waterfall Iterations; focuses teams on completing (including System testing, deployment) User Stories, that they themselves have created, split and sized.
A noteIn organisations where there is strong support for the transition (or even only light resistance) I would recommend switching straight to Scrum.
Another noteKanban is an evolutionary process improvement approach that dramatically reduces resistance to change. That is another option to consider.
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