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Agile Adoption: Should It Be Data-Centric At All Levels Of The Organization?

Introduction to Data-centric Agile TransformationsTeams and Organizations adopt Agile to bring in the changes- faster turnaround, better results, quick reviews, dynamic teams.The mindset change that is constantly talked about in Agile is still challenging to fathom because no one really knows how much of a change it is. Yet, the philosophy seems nice to look at- people over tools, working software over documentation- yes everyone needs it.While teams get structured, work is re-evaluated, Scrum masters trained and Agile coaches hired, everyone knows change is coming. 66 days is what it takes for any change to happen… and no matter what your role is, this is tough on everybody.Data, as it happens, is so underused in Agile transformations that it needs a book by itself. Data-centric approach to Agile methodology can be used to inspire, create gamification models to encourage team dynamics as well as create a monitoring mechanism to help convince stakeholders that things are moving.So, let’s look at these categories and see how data can be mapped.IntrospectData is neutral and yet has the ability to create an environment of positivity. Used correctly (both qualitative and quantitative) in the early stages, it can help us understand and build the environment. The following points can help you introspect as a team as well as individually.The Happiness Index- On a scale of 1-5, rate your team on how happy you are working with them and give a reason for it. Done anonymously in team retros or just randomly is stand-ups, this brings out anger, conflicts, and reasoning in a completely different way. However, beware this works only when this is conducted by a third party (like an Agile coach/facilitator). The score, of course, stays for further comparisons in the future (you can do it release wise, yearly etc). It makes everyone open up; however at the same time realize their opinions matter or someone is listening. You can find the points that get repeated and connect with the right person who can get it resolved.Find Your Team Mate- In this scenario, ask your team to anonymously write one quality about themselves that no one’s know about (not related to work). Now take those sticky notes and put it up on a wall. On the other column write the name of the team members- now ask the team to match the quality with the name. This is an amazing exercise for any team whether the dynamics are good or bad, new team or seasoned team, co-located or distributed.The reason it works so well is, in our everyday mad rush at work, we often forget to appreciate each other as humans and focus on the skills and getting the work done. We don’t even know who we work with anymore. This exercise is always eagerly participated and the results astonish team members themselves. It gives introverts and extroverts the same playing field and helps teammates understand how to motivate each other.MotivateMotivation is essential in any Agile team and yet this is an overlooked category in transformations. We know from Harvard Business Review that happy teams take up more complex challenges (https://hbr.org/2013/04/to-find-happiness-at-work-tap). So, what data can be looked at to ensure teams are intrinsically challenged?1) Publish Case Studies- Publishing case studies of successful teams with adequate data might be a wonderful information radiator of teams that truly motivate others.2) Team Reports- For retrospections, using the available team data can bring insights which are otherwise difficult to trace. Team reports can start at a basic level and track:1. User Story Committed vs Delivered2. Team velocity3. Sprint Burn DownUnderstanding what they have done and where things could have been improved under the guidance of an able manager, should inspire teams to perform better in the next sprint.3) Value Stream Mapping- Look at the entire cycle flow for a sprint with your team, take the waste out, make changes to your practice, keep tracking, talking and changing till you think the process is completely yours.4) Defect Reports- While looking at what went wrong or missed isn’t always motivating in the short run, seeing and ensuring a root-cause analysis is done and changing the strategy accordingly and reducing the account definitely is a mood booster for teams.5) Velocity Charts- Another way of looking at what has been delivered in terms of complexities over a period of time and if the chart differs way too much, the reasoning behind when and in what condition more complexity was delivered. The dips could be because of holidays or new joiners or attrition rates.CamaraderieA happy team is a productive team. Conflicts and egos are added complexities that are best resolved immediately.Retrospective- Seeing what the trend has been as a team and if the action items are being resolved should improve the team dynamics to continuously strive to improve. Track the action items to the positive changes made in the team and publish the data. Or alternatively, find the trend and see where usually the blockers are, this set of data while can be used fantastically by the team it can also be used by the manager or the coach, who when implementing for another team will use strategies to ensure the same trend doesn’t surface.Kudo Cards- Recognitions from team members would be a wonderful feeling for anyone, tracking them over releases or yearly on what someone is doing to help can create team appraisals and not individual ones.To summarize, data is always your ally, nudging and pushing you towards the right direction. Data isn’t just for management/stakeholder reports which it’s usually thought out to be, it should be embraced with equal inquisitiveness by teams and coaches and anyone who is remotely really trying to understand how transformation happens and how teams and individuals react to it.Data-centric Agile transformations shouldn’t just be e-mails sent out by management, it should be about thinking deeply about what it entails, what might change, the reality, and the expectations.
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Agile Adoption: Should It Be Data-Centric At All Levels Of The Organization?

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Agile Adoption: Should It Be Data-Centric At All Levels Of The Organization?

Introduction to Data-centric Agile Transformations

Teams and Organizations adopt Agile to bring in the changes- faster turnaround, better results, quick reviews, dynamic teams.

The mindset change that is constantly talked about in Agile is still challenging to fathom because no one really knows how much of a change it is. Yet, the philosophy seems nice to look at- people over tools, working software over documentation- yes everyone needs it.

While teams get structured, work is re-evaluated, Scrum masters trained and Agile coaches hired, everyone knows change is coming. 66 days is what it takes for any change to happen… and no matter what your role is, this is tough on everybody.

Data, as it happens, is so underused in Agile transformations that it needs a book by itself. Data-centric approach to Agile methodology can be used to inspire, create gamification models to encourage team dynamics as well as create a monitoring mechanism to help convince stakeholders that things are moving.
















So, let’s look at these categories and see how data can be mapped.

Introspect

Data is neutral and yet has the ability to create an environment of positivity. Used correctly (both qualitative and quantitative) in the early stages, it can help us understand and build the environment. The following points can help you introspect as a team as well as individually.

The Happiness Index- On a scale of 1-5, rate your team on how happy you are working with them and give a reason for it. Done anonymously in team retros or just randomly is stand-ups, this brings out anger, conflicts, and reasoning in a completely different way. However, beware this works only when this is conducted by a third party (like an Agile coach/facilitator). The score, of course, stays for further comparisons in the future (you can do it release wise, yearly etc). It makes everyone open up; however at the same time realize their opinions matter or someone is listening. You can find the points that get repeated and connect with the right person who can get it resolved.

Find Your Team Mate- In this scenario, ask your team to anonymously write one quality about themselves that no one’s know about (not related to work). Now take those sticky notes and put it up on a wall. On the other column write the name of the team members- now ask the team to match the quality with the name. This is an amazing exercise for any team whether the dynamics are good or bad, new team or seasoned team, co-located or distributed.

The reason it works so well is, in our everyday mad rush at work, we often forget to appreciate each other as humans and focus on the skills and getting the work done. We don’t even know who we work with anymore. This exercise is always eagerly participated and the results astonish team members themselves. It gives introverts and extroverts the same playing field and helps teammates understand how to motivate each other.

Motivate

Motivation is essential in any Agile team and yet this is an overlooked category in transformations. We know from Harvard Business Review that happy teams take up more complex challenges (https://hbr.org/2013/04/to-find-happiness-at-work-tap). So, what data can be looked at to ensure teams are intrinsically challenged?
1) Publish Case Studies- Publishing case studies of successful teams with adequate data might be a wonderful information radiator of teams that truly motivate others.

2) Team Reports- For retrospections, using the available team data can bring insights which are otherwise difficult to trace. Team reports can start at a basic level and track:

1. User Story Committed vs Delivered
2. Team velocity
3. Sprint Burn Down

Understanding what they have done and where things could have been improved under the guidance of an able manager, should inspire teams to perform better in the next sprint.

3) Value Stream Mapping- Look at the entire cycle flow for a sprint with your team, take the waste out, make changes to your practice, keep tracking, talking and changing till you think the process is completely yours.

4) Defect Reports- While looking at what went wrong or missed isn’t always motivating in the short run, seeing and ensuring a root-cause analysis is done and changing the strategy accordingly and reducing the account definitely is a mood booster for teams.

5) Velocity Charts- Another way of looking at what has been delivered in terms of complexities over a period of time and if the chart differs way too much, the reasoning behind when and in what condition more complexity was delivered. The dips could be because of holidays or new joiners or attrition rates.

Camaraderie

A happy team is a productive team. Conflicts and egos are added complexities that are best resolved immediately.

Retrospective- Seeing what the trend has been as a team and if the action items are being resolved should improve the team dynamics to continuously strive to improve. Track the action items to the positive changes made in the team and publish the data. Or alternatively, find the trend and see where usually the blockers are, this set of data while can be used fantastically by the team it can also be used by the manager or the coach, who when implementing for another team will use strategies to ensure the same trend doesn’t surface.

Kudo Cards- Recognitions from team members would be a wonderful feeling for anyone, tracking them over releases or yearly on what someone is doing to help can create team appraisals and not individual ones.

To summarize, data is always your ally, nudging and pushing you towards the right direction. Data isn’t just for management/stakeholder reports which it’s usually thought out to be, it should be embraced with equal inquisitiveness by teams and coaches and anyone who is remotely really trying to understand how transformation happens and how teams and individuals react to it.

Data-centric Agile transformations shouldn’t just be e-mails sent out by management, it should be about thinking deeply about what it entails, what might change, the reality, and the expectations.

Soma

Soma Bhattacharya

Blog Author

Soma Bhattacharya is an Agile Coach working out of Hyderabad (India). When not at work, she can be found reading (non fiction), running her blog www.steppingintopm.com, planning her next big project and exploring life

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This way, (s)he builds a strong connection with the team and understands their problems while also suggesting effective solutions.  A strong understanding of servant leadership and facilitation:The role of the Scrum Master is not to assign the tasks to the team, it is all about supporting the team members in achieving the project goals. Servant leadership, which is one of the fundamental qualities of a Scrum Master plays a key role here. By serving and encouraging the team in every way possible, a good scrum master always helps the team members attain their full potential. Needless to say, this has a direct positive impact on the business value they create as a team.A relentless approach to continuous delivery:A successful Scrum Master always tries to improve the way a team works. The best way to do this is to arrange the retrospective, where each team member identifies what went well and what went wrong in the initial Sprint. 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That said, he should be actively listening to the team members’ inputs and learning points and guide the team to perform better in subsequent sprints.What are the essential skills of a Scrum Master?Though the Scrum Master role is complex and challenging, a diverse skill set allows them to become a great Scrum Master. Here are the Scrum Master competencies that help him/her succeed in the project:1. Organizing the teamKnowing the rules of the ScrumCommunicating internally and externallyReporting the status of the team membersCollecting the team members in the Sprint PlanningGuiding clearlyResolving the impedimentsEfficient facilitationImplementing collaborative engagement tools and techniques2. Improving the teamForming a good teamManaging the technical debtImproving team members’ activities by providing feedback and motivationImplemented continuous validated learningResponsible for making a change3. Establishing a self-organising teamDisplaying a servant leadershipExecuting the Scrum valuesDecide according to Agile methodologyOwing to the team members’ responsibilitiesInvolving every team member in planning4. Planning bigDiscussing with the team membersFinding and fixing the cross-team problemsImproving the cross-team technical practicesRoles and Responsibilities of a Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master’s role is pivotal to the success of a team. He/she is a process leader who helps the team understand Scrum values, principles, and practices. Some organizations practice rotation of Scrum Master roles among the team members; this is, once again, up to each Scrum Team.However, the roles of the Scrum Master include:The Agile framework custodian and process owner for the team.A facilitator and Servant Leader who never discourages but encourages and expects self-organization from the Agile development team.Build close collaboration across roles and functions in the organization, works on matters collectively and is not individualistic.Protect the team from distractions which include both external and internal.Remove impediments, so the team can focus on the development of work and tasks.Scrum Master is not typically a manager or lead, but he/she is an influential leader who does not do direct command and control.Scrum Master is a coach and advisor to the team and discussed issues encountered.Scrum Master should be equipped with basic technical and project management know-how, this is so that he/she understands the problems and is able to provide proper guidance and advice to the team.With Scrum gaining widespread attention in just about every sector, top industry majors like Microsoft, Honeywell, Ericsson, Bank of America, Cox Automotive, KPMG, etc. are focusing on the integration of Scrum into their existing frameworks. This trend has prompted more industries to invest in Agile and Scrum training.  Let’s see some more benefits of having a certified Scrum Master on a project.Why should you be interested in getting a Scrum Master Certification?Scrum has become the finest choice of organizations to deliver more value to the customers. In State of Scrum 2018 survey, 85 percent of the respondents say Scrum continues to improve the quality of work life. At the same time, 81% of Scrum Masters who received certification agreed that it has significantly helped improve their practice.Listed below are the reasons and benefits of having a Scrum Master certification (CSM).1. In-depth knowledge of Scrum:If you have not implemented Scrum before, earning the certification will help you to learn the Scrum skills effectively. With this certification, you can level-up your knowledge with the basics of Scrum and you will be able to:Make customers happy and satisfiedDeliver better quality product in less timeMaintain team collaborationLesser defectsFlexible working strategyTake a quick decision on an issue2. A number of companies moving to Agile:Nowadays, organizations are required to speed up their product development process to deliver fast according to the changing needs of the customers. This helps organizations to stay viable. Scrum produces in iterations and its self-organizing teams deliver products of maximum value. Due to this reason, a number of companies are shifting to Agile.      3. New career opportunities on the go:A CSM certification will bring more new career opportunities as more companies are migrating to the Agile approach and they need a professional who will guide a team to follow the Scrum approach. Being a certified Scrum Master, your chances of getting hired by the top employers with fair salary are more.    4. Increases collaboration:When it comes to working on a complex project, it needs collaboration among the team members. As a certified professional on a team, you can build and reinforce the basic understanding of Scrum to produce a value.  5. Switch to the Agile mindset:You need to develop an Agile mindset if you have to work with Agile methodologies. As a certified person on a team, you need to start thinking in an Agile way that will avoid differences in opinions and lead to successful projects with better team collaboration.    7. Organizations yield more:It is tough for any organization to accept new processes easily as it affects the complete structure of the organization. It affects processes, management, people, and clients. In this regard, you need a knowledgeable person in your team who will make the adoption a smooth process. Being a certified Scrum Master, you will be facilitating the tasks for the team members.  8. Enter the Scrum experts community:After taking a Certified ScrumMaster certification, an individual will get a chance to be a part of the Scrum experts community of Scrum Alliance. This community offers knowledge in a way to stay updated, find the events, and provide instructions to the certified members.Scrum Master vs. Project ManagerOnce we enter the industries, we often come across the term Project Manager along with the Scrum Master. These two roles are distinct from each other though they contribute to the projects. This creates confusion between the Scrum Master and Project Manager roles when an organization is undergoing an Agile transformation.A Scrum Master works on the Agile project associated with Scrum project management principles whereas a Project Manager’s work is based on the traditional disciplined project management principles. Let’s see the differences between a Scrum Master and Project Manager. Also, if you are serving as a Project Manager and willing to become a Scrum Master or vice versa, this information will help you to take a stand on this. Before going further, let's see the roles of the Scrum Master and Project Manager in brief.1. Scrum Master duties:Scrum Master responsibilities to the Product Owner (PO)-Helps the PO in managing the product backlogHelps the PO to convey the product requirement clearly to the team members  Facilitate Scrum events to the POScrum Master responsibilities towards the development team-Guiding and coaching the teams to follow Scrum rulesRemoves roadblocks that are inhibiting the project’s progressHelps to maintain team dynamics and high-value resultFacilitate the Scrum events and arrange Scrum meetingsDirecting the team in Scrum implementationMentor the team members who are new to Scrum adoption2. Project Manager roles:The Project Manager is responsible for:Delivering the product according to the project’s requirementsDefining the project scope and planning the project activities accordinglyEnsuring that the responsibilities assigned to team members are according to their skills and expertiseReporting the progress of the project to the stakeholdersTracking the project performance against the timelines and ensuring an effective project qualityMaking sure that the project documentation is properPlanning the tasks for the team members and ensuring that the team understands their roles in the projectPreparing a project budget and getting it approved from the senior managementManaging the StakeholdersMonitoring and controlling the risks in the projectDelivering the project on time with the project constraints like scope, the budget, time, and efficient resourcesLet’s figure out the major differences between a Scrum Master and Project ManagerScrum MasterAttributesProject ManagerMakes sure that the team members are well trained to follow Agile practices appropriately. Also, SM coaches the Scrum teams and mentions the timeline to finish the projectGoalsHas defined goals like-Completing the project on time, planned a budget, and scopeSM assures the quality and knows the importance of quality.Quality AssurancePM also knows the importance of quality, but doesn’t know how to achieve it. A consultant is usually hired to fix the errorsScrum Master always tries to keep things smaller. They like to work in small teams irrespective of budget.Team SizeProject Managers like to make things large. PM works with more people and a huge budget. In this way, they improve to Program ManagerThe average salary of a Certified ScrumMaster® is $116,659 per year.Average SalaryThe average salary of a Project Manager is $75,474 per yearCertified Scrum Master (CSM)®Advanced-Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)®Certified Scrum Professional- Scrum Master (CSP-SM)®Professional Scrum Master (PSM I, PSM II, PSM III)Agile Scrum Master (ASM)Scrum Master Certified (SMC)SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM)SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)CertificationsAgile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®Project Management Professional (PMP)®Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®Certified Project Manager (IAPM)CompTIA Project+Certified Scrum Master (CSM)- Scrum AllianceAdvanced-Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)- Scrum AllianceCertified Scrum Professional- Scrum Master (CSP-SM)- Scrum AllianceProfessional Scrum Master (PSM I, PSM II, PSM III)- Scrum.orgAgile Scrum Master (ASM)- EXINScrum Master Certified (SMC)- SCRUMstudySAFe® Scrum Master (SSM)- Scaled Agile Inc (SAI)SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)- Scaled Agile Inc (SAI)Accreditation bodiesAgile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®- PMIProject Management Professional (PMP)®- PMICertified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®- PMICertified Project Manager (IAPM)- International Association of Project ManagersCompTIA Project+- CompTIAEfficient Scrum Master = Great OrganizationThe role of a Scrum Master may vary from one project to another or one organization to another but the importance of Scrum Master in a team will always be the same. The role of the Scrum Master in general is very challenging. It goes without saying that hiring a Scrum Master is the wisest decision for an organization undergoing a real transition to Agile!  
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Everything You Need to Know About Scrum Master

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