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What is an "Integrated Product Team" ?

Product and process technology is quickly evolving, and competition with opponents is becoming tougher across the globe. Customers are emphasizing enhanced features and authenticity, but reduced defense spending requires stress on excellence and affordability. These changing and challenging circumstances require the implementation of integrated product development concepts to lessen development cycle time and strengthen product quality when delivered to the customer.Integrated Product Development (IPD) focuses on the integrated design of products and production and support processes. The design of the product and the process must be combined to ensure the optimal approach to manufacture and support the product. What Is the Importance of the Product Team? The role of the Product team is to execute business strategy while also playing the purpose of market advocate. They confirm that ideas implemented are in association with the overall corporate strategy. Product team leads the company to deliver competitive products that are in line with market needs and help the company reach business goals.The following points characterize a good product team.The product team has a clear understanding of customers’ challenges and goals. As a team they share a strong purpose and vision and work tirelessly to solve the problem they are facing. The product team lists assumptions for each product or list feature idea and convert these to testable theories. They spend A LOT of time on researching and testing. The product team builds their roadmaps around hurdles that they would like to solve for the customers. The product team involves the whole team in resolving customer challenges. The entire team is employed in designing, prototyping and testing a solution. After the product teams delivers a new feature, they measure the success of it based on the insights of the initial customer discovery. Customer feedback and insights enable the team to learn tirelessly and they try out new approaches for solving their customers’ problems. They have an overall idea of the existing solutions that customers have. They assume what customers struggle with, and what the potentials for improvements could be. The product team is conscious that what is accomplished today might not be the best solution tomorrow. They continuously seek feedback from users, customers, and leads, and are conscious of where the market is moving. They update the customer pain points, personas, customer goals, and product expectations. The product team doesn’t work in isolation. They collude closely with sales, marketing, and support teams. They impart a lean approach for learning and responding to customer behavior all across an organization. The product team will understand the latest technology first and will adopt it only after experimenting with it and ensuring to achieve the solution that fits users' actual usage and expectations. They will contribute to building conceptual MVPs and testing product ideas, rather than wasting valuable time on perfecting technology before placing it in front of users. What Are Integrated Product Teams? An integrated product team (IPT) is a multidisciplinary combination of people who are collectively accountable for delivering a designated product or process. The emphasis of the IPT is on the relationship of all stakeholders in a collaborative forum. IPTs were introduced to the U.S. in 1995 as part of the major acquisition reforms to the way goods and services were acquired. IPTs are used in complex development programs/projects for inspection and decision making. The emphasis of the IPT is on the involvement of all stakeholders in a collaborative forum. There are three types of IPTs that every procurement program will implement: Overarching IPTs: Concentrate on imperative guidance, program evaluation, and issue resolution Working-level IPTs: Recognize and resolve program issues, discover program situation, and examine opportunities for procurement reform Program-level IPTs: Focus on program accomplishment and may include representatives from both government and industry after contract award. Integrated Product and Process Development is the management method that simultaneously integrates all necessary procurement activities through the use of IPT to optimize design, manufacturing, and supportability methods. The remarkable success of the integrated product and process development (IPPD) at companies such as Boeing, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard has prompted many manufacturers to focus renewed importance on this critical aspect of concurrent engineering. Below are the principles of integrated product development Good consumer relationships, frequent interactions, and feedback practices lead to more solid understanding of customer’s/user’s needs. Customer association enhances the possibility of the product meeting the needs and being successful in the market. Integrate product development, R&D with the business strategy and business plans. Defines the influence on time-to-market, product development and competitive advantage. Quick implementation of Marketing/ program management, manufacturing, material, test, quality, and product support employees in product improvements reduces design renewals, repetition, and production obstacles. Authorized, self-directed teams have more refined control and are dedicated to development goals.   The manufacturing and product support methods should be integrated with the design of products in order to optimize the performance and have a seamless product life cycle process implemented.   Development team members should be associated with the plans and proposals for new products or programs to obtain their input and engagement. Manage non-recurring development expenses by effective planning; incremental, low-risk development; and by maintaining project scope.   Utilize the expertise of the specialists/ experts during product development and optimize product designs. Control schedule balance and welcome improvements/ suggestions by suppliers/experts to generate more reliable products at lower costs.   Quality Design, engineering, architecture, and reliable procedures give an efficient way to recognize the role and interaction of products. Implement lessons learned to avoid repeating past mistakes and conduct surveys to ensure all design problems and risks have been properly addressed.   Integration of CAM mechanisms helps to have design/definition with fewer errors, higher accuracy, and a drop-in lead time to production. Software re-usability with object-oriented design brings a high level of productivity to the software.    Modeling, interpretation, and simulation tools help to develop and refine both product and process design inexpensively. They also help to develop the design and decrease the number of time-consuming iterations for mock-ups and developmental prototypes.   Re-engineering the product design process, decreasing the activities which don't provide value, continuous integration of technical tools, design activities, and recommended methodologies will improve the process design. When Are Integrated Product Teams Crucial? IPTs organize development group to enable Concurrent Engineering, Integrated Product Development, or Lean Product Development. They are used for the purpose of developing and delivering a product or service to their customer(s). While collaboration and transparency across developments are important for the success of every project, it’s certainly dangerous for complex projects with a significant downstream impact. A quick research of IPTs will reveal that they are crucial as they are associated with defense projects. How to Form an Integrated Product Team Creating an IPT takes more than the individuals involved - it requires a well-thought-out framework.Use the following framework to start organizing your integrated product team:Plan DevelopmentCustomer focus decides the needs of customers, products that meet needs, and current capabilities. Perform a gap analysis on these factors. The organization must cater to the product in IPD, not the other way around. Set up a team and determine required resources like hardware, software, space, and outside contractors. Communication and TrainingTrain the team when required. Appoint a team leader who can manage individual team members on the IPD philosophy. Don’t scrimp on investment in training, and use it as an opportunity to cross-pollinate teams who earlier rarely interacted, like business strategy members and software developers.  Improvement of Development ProcessSuccessful product development begins with a tested, clear, and well-executed process. The plan should then follow a logical and disciplined sequence of development phases. Product Development helps to perfect the end-to-end process and this enables a development team to turn great ideas into highly successful products. Team Relationships and ResponsibilitiesTeam relationships unite design and engineering teams to create a friendly work relationship that transposes to intuitive products. Designers and engineers collaborate to support each other’s phases. This helps teams to create innovative and intuitive products.  Create MetricsDefine success and present metrics to different teams for significant comparison. Engineers handling timely delivery, responsiveness, etc are good common measures. Processes, Activities, and DecisionsIPTs must continuously develop. Divide the task to departmental leaders and team members for recording activity and decisions implemented.Why Integrated Product Development Fails to Take Hold There are times when organizations fail to launch integrated product teams or they never do so, and there could be many reasons for this. Even with the most suitable management and employees, an integrated product team might be difficult, if not impossible, to be launched.  Here are some factors to be avoided:Overestimation The ideas or concepts may not too hard to understand, but embedding them in the right position requires knowledge of project management and coordination at all levels affiliated with IPD. If the management observes the IPD concept and rearranges the organizational chart without embracing the spirit of the methodology, it will never gain a foothold. A skilled approach and team of consultants might be essential to improve, set up, and mentor everyone in the team.  PrioritizationSetting up preferences is a talent expected from the experts working in the team and the results anticipated may not appear overnight. There may be too many cogs to get the engine active right away. If stakeholders notice a fad project management method and observe that results will not materialize easily, the integrated product team would fail. The required commitment of the team is the key to the success of any project.  Culture of OrganizationEvery organization’s culture is not set to seamlessly work with IPD principles. A developer workroom may follow Scrum, and a product design agency may acknowledge multi-org coordination. If an organization is resistant to changes, it might not be able to manage IPD.   Clarity of RolesIf there is no concrete direction as to who is accountable for what on a developer team, and who reports to whom, the project would be uncontrollable.  No Follow UpA vital part of the process is following-up and obtaining the progress reports from the team at regular intervals. If the management isn’t monitoring the process; the team might lose their motivation to work with full zeal.  Meager InvestmentA meager amount of money and no time to train the IPD practitioners results in negative improvement of the IPD team and they are bound to fail. A long-term investment would boost returns only when it is managed accurately. We attain proficiency not only in mitigating our errors at each iteration but also in enhancing working relationships among team members.  Team CoordinationThe team members must accept their responsibilities. IPD requires a higher-level of coordination on the part of employees. If team members neglect their roles, the project will collapse for e.g. interacting with vendors has been the purview of account managers, and planning out schedules was the precinct of project managers.DisincentivesIt is essential to analyze, review and realign policies and incentive structures properly, else team members would not cooperate with other team members and this may delay delivery.Key Factors to Make Ipd Adoption Successful  Below are the key factors which, when followed efficiently, would make IPD adoption successful. All stakeholders and management should be aligned to a single objective. The owner should marshal the resources required for the project, else it can negatively impact their project by not providing the needed leadership.  Adopting a scientific strategy and its implementation depends on building the plan, implementation of the plan, and constant review of the implemented plan. Sharing the risk of scope and budget between parties helps in establishing the fine line required for the best project economization. Implementation of modern methods and technology within the organization framework helps in achieving the end results at high standards. Skilled manpower is another essential key factor and organizations should make investments in human capital. The customer is the central focus point of IPD. Constant feedback from the customer is essential for IPD to be a success. IPD is a suitable design approach that, when successfully implemented, can address all the concerns of modern organizations in the globalized world. Project Management Tools and Integrated Product Development  A product development roadmap template can help to sketch out the high-level concept of your product. However, there is a different way to enhance the process: using the right software tools.  Below are the benefits accrued when using the right product management software: Manage your resources more effectively Set a more realistic product development schedule Find the charts that work for you Use real-time reports for deeper insights Centralize communication and your product visionAdvantages of Integrated Product Development What makes IPD so beneficial? Following are the advantages they yield for new product development.  Modernization and TechnologyProject innovations in development and manufacturing are needed to beat competitors in the market. Long-play investments in R&D for your current project may pay off in the future because the IPD formed will be working efficiently. Depreciates CostsIPD’s principle of continuous process improvement, MVP, and reducing redundancy and rework means that costs will decrease.  Overwhelms Risk of Product FailureReinforcing regular communication will result in mitigating design flaws or manufacturing errors. By including stakeholders early on and at all stages of the conversation, issues that could arise in the future can be predicted earlier.  If the team is working together well and sharing notes, product failure is unlikely to happen. Quality and InnovationProduct failure is reduced when the strongest minds of each discipline come together and collaborate, rather than non-practitioners delivering direction or partially-committed vendors just phoning in a one-time job.  Stakeholder ParticipationIPD’s true advantage is that it encourages participation from all stakeholder organizations. Customer perspectives are brought from research, and intellectual consent from all stakeholders is the only way forward. ConclusionIntegrated product development theories are not exceptional and new in product development organizations and many of these methods have been used in the past. But as the size and complexity of companies increased, the industry lost many of these practices. The concepts of IPD are simple, but the implementation of these practices and the process of changing a company’s culture is challenging. Success can be achieved with a well-planned and managed effort. Management must understand not only the concepts of IPD but the process of managing change within the organization.  The purpose of IPD is to decrease later stage design changes, decrease project risks, and keep costs low. A company can accomplish the benefits of full life cycle design alongside the efficiency of multi-disciplinary teams by efficiently executing integrated product development processes. 

What is an "Integrated Product Team" ?

6K
What is an

Product and process technology is quickly evolving, and competition with opponents is becoming tougher across the globe. Customers are emphasizing enhanced features and authenticity, but reduced defense spending requires stress on excellence and affordability. These changing and challenging circumstances require the implementation of integrated product development concepts to lessen development cycle time and strengthen product quality when delivered to the customer.

Integrated Product Development (IPD) focuses on the integrated design of products and production and support processes. The design of the product and the process must be combined to ensure the optimal approach to manufacture and support the product. 

What Is the Importance of the Product Team? 

The role of the Product team is to execute business strategy while also playing the purpose of market advocate. They confirm that ideas implemented are in association with the overall corporate strategy. Product team leads the company to deliver competitive products that are in line with market needs and help the company reach business goals.

The following points characterize a good product team.

  1. The product team has a clear understanding of customers’ challenges and goals. As a team they share a strong purpose and vision and work tirelessly to solve the problem they are facing. 
  2. The product team lists assumptions for each product or list feature idea and convert these to testable theories. They spend A LOT of time on researching and testing. 
  3. The product team builds their roadmaps around hurdles that they would like to solve for the customers. 
  4. The product team involves the whole team in resolving customer challenges. The entire team is employed in designing, prototyping and testing a solution. 
  5. After the product teams delivers a new feature, they measure the success of it based on the insights of the initial customer discovery. 
  6. Customer feedback and insights enable the team to learn tirelessly and they try out new approaches for solving their customers’ problems. 
  7. They have an overall idea of the existing solutions that customers have. They assume what customers struggle with, and what the potentials for improvements could be. 
  8. The product team is conscious that what is accomplished today might not be the best solution tomorrow. They continuously seek feedback from users, customers, and leads, and are conscious of where the market is moving. They update the customer pain points, personas, customer goals, and product expectations. 
  9. The product team doesn’t work in isolation. They collude closely with sales, marketing, and support teams. They impart a lean approach for learning and responding to customer behavior all across an organization. 
  10. The product team will understand the latest technology first and will adopt it only after experimenting with it and ensuring to achieve the solution that fits users' actual usage and expectations. They will contribute to building conceptual MVPs and testing product ideas, rather than wasting valuable time on perfecting technology before placing it in front of users. 

What Are Integrated Product Teams? 

INTEGRATED PRODUCT TEAMS

An integrated product team (IPT) is a multidisciplinary combination of people who are collectively accountable for delivering a designated product or process. 

The emphasis of the IPT is on the relationship of all stakeholders in a collaborative forum. IPTs were introduced to the U.S. in 1995 as part of the major acquisition reforms to the way goods and services were acquired. 

IPTs are used in complex development programs/projects for inspection and decision making. The emphasis of the IPT is on the involvement of all stakeholders in a collaborative forum. 

There are three types of IPTs that every procurement program will implement: 

  1. Overarching IPTs: Concentrate on imperative guidance, program evaluation, and issue resolution 
  2. Working-level IPTs: Recognize and resolve program issues, discover program situation, and examine opportunities for procurement reform 
  3. Program-level IPTs: Focus on program accomplishment and may include representatives from both government and industry after contract award. 

Integrated Product and Process Development is the management method that simultaneously integrates all necessary procurement activities through the use of IPT to optimize design, manufacturing, and supportability methods. 

IPTs that every procurement program

The remarkable success of the integrated product and process development (IPPD) at companies such as Boeing, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard has prompted many manufacturers to focus renewed importance on this critical aspect of concurrent engineering. 

Below are the principles of integrated product development 

  1. Good consumer relationships, frequent interactions, and feedback practices lead to more solid understanding of customer’s/user’s needs. Customer association enhances the possibility of the product meeting the needs and being successful in the market. 
  2. Integrate product development, R&D with the business strategy and business plans. Defines the influence on time-to-market, product development and competitive advantage. 
  3. Quick implementation of Marketing/ program management, manufacturing, material, test, quality, and product support employees in product improvements reduces design renewals, repetition, and production obstacles. Authorized, self-directed teams have more refined control and are dedicated to development goals.  
  4.  The manufacturing and product support methods should be integrated with the design of products in order to optimize the performance and have a seamless product life cycle process implemented.  
  5.  Development team members should be associated with the plans and proposals for new products or programs to obtain their input and engagement. Manage non-recurring development expenses by effective planning; incremental, low-risk development; and by maintaining project scope.  
  6.  Utilize the expertise of the specialists/ experts during product development and optimize product designs. Control schedule balance and welcome improvements/ suggestions by suppliers/experts to generate more reliable products at lower costs.  
  7.  Quality Design, engineering, architecture, and reliable procedures give an efficient way to recognize the role and interaction of products. Implement lessons learned to avoid repeating past mistakes and conduct surveys to ensure all design problems and risks have been properly addressed.  
  8.  Integration of CAM mechanisms helps to have design/definition with fewer errors, higher accuracy, and a drop-in lead time to production. Software re-usability with object-oriented design brings a high level of productivity to the software.   
  9.  Modeling, interpretation, and simulation tools help to develop and refine both product and process design inexpensively. They also help to develop the design and decrease the number of time-consuming iterations for mock-ups and developmental prototypes.  
  10.  Re-engineering the product design process, decreasing the activities which don't provide value, continuous integration of technical tools, design activities, and recommended methodologies will improve the process design. 

When Are Integrated Product Teams Crucial? 

IPTs organize development group to enable Concurrent Engineering, Integrated Product Development, or Lean Product Development. They are used for the purpose of developing and delivering a product or service to their customer(s). While collaboration and transparency across developments are important for the success of every project, it’s certainly dangerous for complex projects with a significant downstream impact. A quick research of IPTs will reveal that they are crucial as they are associated with defense projects. 

How to Form an Integrated Product Team 

Creating an IPT takes more than the individuals involved - it requires a well-thought-out framework.

Use the following framework to start organizing your integrated product team:

Plan Development

Customer focus decides the needs of customers, products that meet needs, and current capabilities. Perform a gap analysis on these factors. The organization must cater to the product in IPD, not the other way around. Set up a team and determine required resources like hardware, software, space, and outside contractors. 

Communication and Training

Train the team when required. Appoint team leader who can manage individual team members on the IPD philosophy. Don’t scrimp on investment in training, and use it as an opportunity to cross-pollinate teams who earlier rarely interacted, like business strategy members and software developers.  

Improvement of Development Process

Successful product development begins with a tested, clear, and well-executed process. The plan should then follow a logical and disciplined sequence of development phases. Product Development helps to perfect the end-to-end process and this enables a development team to turn great ideas into highly successful products. 

Team Relationships and Responsibilities

Team relationships unite design and engineering teams to create a friendly work relationship that transposes to intuitive products. Designers and engineers collaborate to support each other’s phases. This helps teams to create innovative and intuitive products.  

Create Metrics

Define success and present metrics to different teams for significant comparison. Engineers handling timely delivery, responsiveness, etc are good common measures. 

Processes, Activities, and Decisions

IPTs must continuously develop. Divide the task to departmental leaders and team members for recording activity and decisions implemented.

Why Integrated Product Development Fails to Take Hold 

There are times when organizations fail to launch integrated product teams or they never do so, and there could be many reasons for this. Even with the most suitable management and employeesan integrated product team might be difficult, if not impossible, to be launched 

Here are some factors to be avoided:

Overestimation 

The ideas or concepts may not too hard to understand, but embedding them in the right position requires knowledge of project management and coordination at all levels affiliated with IPD. If the management observes the IPD concept and rearranges the organizational chart without embracing the spirit of the methodology, it will never gain a foothold. A skilled approach and team of consultants might be essential to improve, set up, and mentor everyone in the team.  

Prioritization

Setting up preferences is a talent expected from the experts working in the team and the results anticipated may not appear overnight. There may be too many cogs to get the engine active right away. If stakeholders notice a fad project management method and observe that results will not materialize easily, the integrated product team would fail. The required commitment of the team is the key to the success of any project.  

Culture of Organization

Every organization’s culture is not set to seamlessly work with IPD principles. A developer workroom may follow Scrum, and a product design agency may acknowledge multi-org coordination. If an organization is resistant to changes, it might not be able to manage IPD.   

Clarity of Roles

If there is no concrete direction as to who is accountable for what on a developer team, and who reports to whom, the project would be uncontrollable.  

No Follow Up

A vital part of the process is following-up and obtaining the progress reports from the team at regular intervals. If the management isn’t monitoring the process; the team might lose their motivation to work with full zeal.  

Meager Investment

A meager amount of money and no time to train the IPD practitioners results in negative improvement of the IPD team and they are bound to fail. A long-term investment would boost returns only when it is managed accurately. We attain proficiency not only in mitigating our errors at each iteration but also in enhancing working relationships among team members.  

Team Coordination

The team members must accept their responsibilities. IPD requires a higher-level of coordination on the part of employees. If team members neglect their roles, the project will collapse for e.g. interacting with vendors has been the purview of account managers, and planning out schedules was the precinct of project managers.

Disincentives

It is essential to analyze, review and realign policies and incentive structures properly, else team members would not cooperate with other team members and this may delay delivery.

Key Factors to Make Ipd Adoption Successful  

Below are the key factors which, when followed efficiently, would make IPD adoption successful. 

  1. All stakeholders and management should be aligned to a single objective. 
  2. The owner should marshal the resources required for the project, else it can negatively impact their project by not providing the needed leadership.  
  3. Adopting a scientific strategy and its implementation depends on building the plan, implementation of the plan, and constant review of the implemented plan. 
  4. Sharing the risk of scope and budget between parties helps in establishing the fine line required for the best project economization. 
  5. Implementation of modern methods and technology within the organization framework helps in achieving the end results at high standards. 
  6. Skilled manpower is another essential key factor and organizations should make investments in human capital. 
  7. The customer is the central focus point of IPD. Constant feedback from the customer is essential for IPD to be a success. 

IPD is a suitable design approach that, when successfully implemented, can address all the concerns of modern organizations in the globalized world. 

Project Management Tools and Integrated Product Development  

A product development roadmap template can help to sketch out the high-level concept of your product. However, there is a different way to enhance the process: using the right software tools.  

Below are the benefits accrued when using the right product management software: 

  1. Manage your resources more effectively 
  2. Set a more realistic product development schedule 
  3. Find the charts that work for you 
  4. Use real-time reports for deeper insights 
  5. Centralize communication and your product vision

Advantages of Integrated Product Development 

What makes IPD so beneficial? Following are the advantages they yield for new product development.  

Modernization and Technology

Project innovations in development and manufacturing are needed to beat competitors in the market. Long-play investments in R&D for your current project may pay off in the future because the IPD formed will be working efficiently. 

Depreciates Costs

IPD’s principle of continuous process improvement, MVP, and reducing redundancy and rework means that costs will decrease.  

Overwhelms Risk of Product Failure

Reinforcing regular communication will result in mitigating design flaws or manufacturing errors. By including stakeholders early on and at all stages of the conversation, issues that could arise in the future can be predicted earlier If the team is working together well and sharing notes, product failure is unlikely to happen. 

Quality and Innovation

Product failure is reduced when the strongest minds of each discipline come together and collaborate, rather than non-practitioners delivering direction or partially-committed vendors just phoning in a one-time job.  

Stakeholder Participation

IPD’s true advantage is that it encourages participation from all stakeholder organizations. Customer perspectives are brought from research, and intellectual consent from all stakeholders is the only way forward. 

Conclusion

Integrated product development theories are not exceptional and new in product development organizations and many of these methods have been used in the past. But as the size and complexity of companies increased, the industry lost many of these practices. The concepts of IPD are simple, but the implementation of these practices and the process of changing a company’s culture is challenging. Success can be achieved with a well-planned and managed effort. Management must understand not only the concepts of IPD but the process of managing change within the organization.  

The purpose of IPD is to decrease later stage design changes, decrease project risks, and keep costs low. A company can accomplish the benefits of full life cycle design alongside the efficiency of multi-disciplinary teams by efficiently executing integrated product development processes. 

Rajesh

Rajesh Bhagia

Blog Author

Rajesh Bhagia is experienced campaigner in Lamp technologies and has 10 years of experience in Project Management. He has worked in Multinational companies and has handled small to very complex projects single-handedly. He started his career as Junior Programmer and has evolved in different positions including Project Manager of Projects in E-commerce Portals. Currently, he is handling one of the largest project in E-commerce Domain in MNC company which deals in nearly 9.5 million SKU's.

In his role as Project Manager at MNC company, Rajesh fosters an environment of teamwork and ensures that strategy is clearly defined while overseeing performance and maintaining morale. His strong communication and client service skills enhance his process-driven management philosophy.

Rajesh is a certified Zend Professional and has developed a flair for implementing PMP Knowledge Areas in daily work schedules. He has well understood the importance of these process and considers that using the knowledge Areas efficiently and correctly can turn projects to success. He also writes articles/blogs on Technology and Management

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A Scrum Master is a critical part of the Scrum team and is in effect a microcosm of Scrum upholding the Agile values and focusing on creating a self-organizing, highly motivated and collaborative team. Scrum is a not a one-size-fits- all framework. Perhaps that is what makes it difficult to master. It has to be tailored to suit the needs of each project, team and organization. There are several factors that need to be considered before adopting Scrum. The Scrum Master’s role, similarly, needs to be learnt and there are several skills a professional must have or needs to cultivate in order to be a successful Scrum Master. The Scrum Master’s Role in a Successful Scrum Adoption:There are many Scrum teams that have started out in the right way, but soon fall by the wayside as they do not follow Scrum in principle. This is where the Scrum Master plays a very critical role in the success of the team. Despite Scrum being ‘simple to understand and difficult to master’ the Scrum Master is considered to be the expert on all things Scrum.As a coach, guide and mentor, the Scrum Master should facilitate the successful adoption of Scrum, and help others to gain mastery over Scrum principles and values.A Scrum Master must mandatorily follow certain core values and inspire the team to follow them as well. These core values that include openness, commitment, focus, courage and respect bring the team together and promote better work ethics and practices.Besides inculcating Scrum principles and values and guiding a successful adoption, a Scrum Master should also have these attributes:  An Unbiased and Open Mind:  An unbiased and open mind is key to being a good Scrum Master. As part of their portfolio, Scrum Masters have to work with different teams and team members having different personalities. Having an open mind will help the Scrum Master to not look at every team with the same lens and treat each team differently. Solutions that work for one team may not work for other teams or situations. Having an open mind will help you realise this and tweak your decisions based on teams and situations.   Transparency:  Transparency and open communication are the pillars of Scrum. As a Scrum Master your intentions should be open and transparent to everyone including your team and the product owner. The team must at all times know your reasons for doing certain things or taking certain decisions. Being upfront with the team members will help in trust building and lead to better work ethics.   Metrics to Map Progress:There are several tools available to track a team’s progress and the Scrum Master must ensure that these metrics showing the team’s progress be made available to the entire team. This will help the team better plan sprints, work collaboratively and improve working practices in order to ensure better output and value.   Motivation for Team Members: Keeping your team members happy and motivated is a Scrum Master’s main job. This includes removing obstacles that may impede the team from performing and helping them work according to Scrum values and techniques. The development team develops the product, and a happy team means a well-built product and satisfied customers. Assistance to the Product Owner:  As a Scrum Master, aiding the Product Owner is a major part of your responsibility. The Product Owner is a major stakeholder in the Scrum team and the Scrum Master aids the product owner in backlog management and by facilitating Scrum events, product planning and by helping the team to identify backlog items. Aiding the Product Owner in issues that they may face with regards to the project, stakeholders or the team will create a positive environment and will make things between the team and the product owner smoother.   Focus on the Challenges: Every Scrum project comes with its set of issues. But an effective Scrum Master will be aware of every challenge or impediment that comes in the way of the development team and takes these problems head on. Focusing on these challenges early on and resolving them is paramount to the success and progress of the team and the project. Appreciation for Achievements:  The focus of daily sprints and retrospectives is often to celebrate achievements and give the development team proper appreciation. A Scrum Master encourages and motivates and this they also do by respective current achievements. While giving advise on how things should be done is necessary, appreciating the team on its achievements is equally important.   Respect for Others: Your team members all have different personalities and each brings their own uniqueness and expertise to the team. No one team member is less or more important than the other. An effective and efficient Scrum Master will recognise this early on and treat every team member with the same amount of respect.  Understanding of Situations in the Right Context:  Not all things are as what they appear. The sooner a scrum master understands this, the better. Situations in context to teams, individuals and even the organization are not always black and white and the Scrum Master must consider the baggage of organizational culture, current systems, internal politics, etc before coming to a conclusion about a team or a team members. Instead, one must attempt to form close relationships with the team and understand the workings of the team and the organizations before passing judgement. Ability to Have Tough Conversations :  You as a Scrum Master are often seen as a problem solver, friend and mentor. But don’t let this image of yours come in the way of making tough decisions or having tough conversations. As a Scrum Master you must have the courage to do the right thing and if this means having difficult but necessary conversations with either the team members, the product owner or the stakeholders, then you must do it.    Courage to Protect the Team:  More often than not, there are unreasonable demands made on the development team. The Scrum Master should have the courage to protect the team and say an emphatic ‘no’ to the Product Owner or the stakeholders.  Accountability: You are accountable for your team’s success as you are for its failures. If as a Scrum Master you want your team to be accountable then the best way to get them to do that is to be accountable yourself. You can do this by being more invested in the day-to-day activities of the team and considering yourself to be a part of the team as well.  Support for Team Members: As a Scrum Master you are not just invested in the project but also in the growth of individual team members. You should motivate, encourage and support your team members to grow and reach heights in their careers.   Deep Commitment: If the team feels that the Scrum Master is committed to the project, committed to the team and committed to the team members, then they are more likely to be open and transparent with the Scrum Master. This trust with the team has to be built so that team members can be open about the challenges they face. The Scrum Master is the voice of the team and must support them at all stages.   Focus on Improvement:  Scrum is all about continuous improvement and the success of the Scrum Master is also tied to the continuous improvement of the Scrum team. If your team is getting better with time then you are doing well as a Scrum Master. From daily sprints to retrospectives, the Scrum Master provides avenues for the team to improve itself, identify problems and suggest solutions to work better.  Conclusion Scrum is the most used Agile framework, yet there are several lessons that organizations need to learn about Scrum before they embark on a transformation journey. This lightweight and easy to use framework can turn around the fortunes of companies if implemented in the right way. It’s important for an organization’s culture to be ready to accept and implement Scrum for project and organizational success.  
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Why Scrum Is Lightweight; Simple To Understand; Di...

85 percent of respondents say Scrum continues to... Read More

Scrum Master – The Scrum Team’s Servant-Leader!

The term servant leader is synonymous with a Scrum Master. But what does it mean? The Scrum Master is a servant leader in Agile projects, but servant leadership goes far beyond Agile, and Scrum Masters serve more than just the team.In this blog we attempt to look at the Scrum Master’s role as a servant leader, what the role entails and the responsibilities of the Scrum Master beyond the team, in context to the organization. What is servant-leadership?The term servant leadership was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in his article “The Servant as Leader”, in which he defined a servant leader as: The Servant-Leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That leader significantly differs from one who is leader first, may be due to the need to acquire power, material belonging, control and authority within the organization. Servant leadership is something very different from traditional leadership, which places the leader at the top of the hierarchy and the employees in the lower rung. Servant leadership, in a sense, is the opposite of traditional leadership, as it places the leader at the bottom of the hierarchy while employees are on the higher rungs. The leaders, in this case, are serving the people above them. Servant leadership refers to leaders who believe in serving people and the community that they are a part of, rather than accumulating power for themselves. This style of leadership emphasizes on helping subordinates better themselves, empowering employees and helping others perform to the best of their abilities.Servant leadership does not prescribe telling employees what to do, instead it helps the workforce find their sense of ownership and unlock their potential to reach their goals. Servant leadership is all about empowering others, which when consistently done can raise morale, enhance productivity and reduce employee attrition.Servant Leadership and ScrumScrum, in a way, is the very essence of servant leadership. Unlike traditional project management methodologies, it does not follow a top-down, hierarchical approach. Instead, decisions are lateral and happen with the involvement of the whole team. Scrum is the perfect approach in which to practice the concept of servant leadership. The 5 Scrum values of Openness, Respect, Commitment, Courage, and Focus, adhere to the philosophy of Servant Leadership. The Scrum Master plays a key role in the development of the product, the team and the organization. The Scrum Guide defines the servant leadership a Scrum Master’s role has to perform in context to the roles mentioned above. The Scrum Values that a Scrum Master practices have a ripple effect throughout the organization. The Scrum Master is seen as an evangelist for practicing and promoting Scrum in the enterprise.The Agile Manifesto and servant-leadershipThe Agile Manifesto states that one must value: Individuals and interactions over Process and tools Working software over Comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation Responding to change over Following a plan These again align with the values of servant leadership, which is all about putting people or employees first. The Agile Manifesto describes focusing on building projects around motivated individuals and giving them an environment of support, trust and collaboration—all characteristics of servant leadership.Who Are These Servant Leaders?The Scrum Guide defines the service provided by the Scrum Master as servant leadership. The Scrum Master selflessly provides servant leadership to the development team, product owner and the whole organization. By serving these entities, the Scrum Master can create a high performing team, a valuable product and an efficient organization that is able to meet business objectives and keep customers happy.  Though the term Scrum Master may be deceptive, the Scrum Master is not a master of the team but in fact serves the team in order to ensure smooth functioning and productivity.Servant Leadership and Scrum Master Roles of Servant LeadershipServant leadership:The day-to-day activity of a Scrum Master involves servant leadership. Servant leadership in a scrum team involves performance planning, coaching, helping the team self- organize, resolving conflicts through conflict management, removing obstacles that hinder progress and serving the team. The Scrum Master, while practicing servant leadership, helps the team grow and mature and become independent enough to make their own decisions. Servant leadership in Scrum is all about making the team self-reliant, so they can cope with the pressures of the role. As a servant leader the Scrum Master creates a high performing team, helps them become collaborative and high performing in order to achieve goals and meet the requirements of the customer.  Service to the Scrum Team: As a servant leader, the primary responsibility of the Scrum Master is to help the development team perform. They help the team perform to the best of their abilities by giving them an environment that is conducive to work in, encouraging them, guiding them and removing obstacles that may hinder progress. As a coach, the Scrum Master will guide the team on scrum processes and help them adhere to Agile values during the development of the product. The Scrum Master is responsible for the scrum team’s effectiveness, and they work tirelessly to ensure that the team is motivated, encouraged, creative and innovative. The Scrum Master through servant leadership helps the team improve Scrum practices which helps them become more productive and generate value. The Scrum Team’s role in motivating and helping the team comes through in the daily stand-up meetings that are arranged as part of the sprint. The Scrum Master encourages team members to share their grievances and progress made through the sprint. Team members can talk about obstacles that may be hindering their work and due cognizance will be taken up by the Scrum master to ensure that these obstacles are removed.  According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Development Team by: Coaching the team in becoming self-organized and cross-functional Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value increments by removing impediments Helping the team deliver within the timeframe of the sprint Service to the Product Owner: The Scrum Master is a servant leader not just for the development team but also the Product Owner. While the Product Owner is primarily responsible for the product backlog, they cannot do this alone. The Scrum Master aids the development team and the Product Owner with effective product backlog management.The Scrum Master is involved at every stage of the product backlog grooming, helping the product owner with Scrum events, product planning and to identify backlog items along with the development team. The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner define the product vision to the team.   According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Product Owner by: Helping in Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management Helping the Scrum Team understand manage the Product Backlog items Setting up empirical product planning in complex environments and, Managing and facilitating stakeholder collaboration.Service to the Organization: The Scrum Master is a coach and motivator not just for the development team but goes beyond the team to spread the awareness of Scrum in the entire organization. Scrum Masters coach and help teams and departments understand Scrum and develop an Agile mind-set. Besides servant leadership to the team a Scrum Master is also involved in promoting the ideas and values of Scrum. An organization can get an agile mind-set only if the entire organization adopts Scrum and not just a few teams. This is where the Scrum Master comes in, helping other teams not involved with Scum to gain the Agile mind-set, through training and coaching. The Scrum Master is an Agile evangelist and promotes Scrum enterprise-wide.According to Scrum.org the Scrum Master serves the organization by: Leading, training, and coaching the organization in adopting Scrum Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization Coaching employees and stakeholders in the way Scrum works Helping stakeholders work with Scrum TeamsSome Servant-Leader Behaviours for every Scrum MasterBeing empathetic: This is the foremost personality trait required for anyone wanting to become a Scrum Master. Your empathy will shine through in your interactions with the team members and your dealings with the stakeholders. You should be able to see problems from the point of view of each party and work towards solving these problems. Caring: As a caring and empathetic Scrum Master, your team will feel free to approach you and share their concerns. Providing a listening ear will make you more approachable. You will be able to more clearly understand the impediments that are stopping project progress and work towards providing a solution.  Managing Conflicts: Not all team members will get along with each other and this can cause disruptions and problems within the team, lowering their productivity. As a Scrum Master you need to be great at conflict management, help others solve their problems, work with each other and create a high performing and harmonious team. Building relationships: You need to build a rapport with your team, the product owner and the stakeholders. This will help you communicate freely and help others approach you with their problems and issues. You need to build that relationship of trust and take everyone along on the journey of success.  Being ethical: Ethics play an important role in software development, especially since software now controls every aspect of our lives. The product created should be free of malice and fraud. The Scrum Master should guide the team in delivering the product at a value and standard that is expected and agreed upon with the stakeholder. There should not be any shortcuts or concessions made on the quality of the product delivered as this will affect not just the Scrum Master and the team’s reputation but will cause a dent in the reputation of the organization.   Conclusion  Servant leadership and the Scrum Master’s role is the backbone of Scrum. The Scrum Master as a servant leader re-emphasizes the values of Scrum and helps to enhance teamwork, collaboration, motivation and value. Under the able servant leadership of the Scrum Master, individual members and the team will grow, become more confident and help in delivering value.  
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Scrum Master – The Scrum Team’s Servan...

The term servant leader is synonymous with a Scrum... Read More

A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small teams. But the true benefits of Agile can only be reaped if Agile and Scrum are scaled at the enterprise level. However, this is easier said than done. According to statistics, 47% of Agile transformations are not successful. While this is a worrying trend, there are still hundreds of organizations who have got it right and are able to survive the competition by innovating faster, delivering value and adapting to changing markets. How are they doing it? By using scaled Scrum.There are several tools and frameworks available for scaling Scrum at the enterprise level. In this blog, we attempt to look at a few of these.  Scaling Scrum with NexusNexus is among the most popular frameworks for scaling Scrum. According to the Nexus Guide, “Nexus is a framework for developing and sustaining scaled product delivery initiatives. It builds upon Scrum, extending it only where absolutely necessary to minimize and manage dependencies between multiple Scrum Teams while promoting empiricism and the Scrum Values.” How is Nexus different from Scrum? Scrum defines three primary roles: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the development team. These three roles work together in one team.The Nexus framework consists of several Scrum teams that work together toward a common product goal and defines the Nexus Integration Team as an additional accountability.  Nexus helps to build on the values of Scrum and also solves the collaboration and dependency challenges that tend to occur between teams in Scrum.Benefits of using Nexus Nexus extends Scrum in the following ways:  Accountabilities: Nexus introduces the Nexus Integration Team, which consists of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and members. This team is accountable for delivering a workable product at the end of each sprint.  Events: Nexus events aim to add to or supplement Scrum events and serve not just individual teams but also the Nexus Integration Team. The objective of a sprint is to achieve the Nexus sprint goal. Artifacts: Although the teams are different, within the Nexus framework they all work towards a single goal and follow a single product backlog. There’s a high amount of transparency and work is allocated to each team. The Nexus Integration TeamAccording to the Nexus Guide, “the Nexus Integration Team exists to coordinate, coach, and supervise the application of Nexus and the operation of Scrum so the best outcomes are derived.” The Nexus Integration Team or NIT comprises of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and Nexus integration team members. There are generally three to nine Scrum teams working together in Nexus. All of them follow a single product backlog and work towards delivering a single product. The Nexus Integration Team forms an essential role within Nexus and is tasked with providing transparent accountability among the teams in Nexus.Product OwnerThe Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the product value and the work carried out in Nexus. Their primary task is to order and refine the product backlog. Being a member of the Nexus Integration Team, the product owner will work with all the Scrum teams in the Nexus Integration team. The product owner and the teams work towards better defining and refining the product backlog.Scrum MasterJust like in regular Scrum, the Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is also responsible for ensuring that the Nexus framework is understood by everyone on the team as prescribed by the Nexus Guide.   MembersThe members of the Nexus Integration Team are the Scrum team members who aid the Scrum teams in adoption of tools and practices that will help the team and members deliver value at the end of each sprint that meets the definition of done. Nexus Integration Team membership should be considered more important than the individual Scrum Team membership and members should work towards first fulfilling their Nexus team responsibilities.What are the Events in Nexus?Nexus adds or augments the events as defined by Scrum. The Nexus event durations are like Scrum event durations and are guided by the Scrum Guide.  Nexus events consist of: Sprint- A Nexus sprint is the same as in Scrum, at the end of which a single increment is delivered.  Cross team refinement- The aim of Nexus is to enhance collaboration and reduce cross team dependencies. Cross team refinement helps to make dependencies and responsibilities more transparent. This makes it easier for Scrum teams within the Nexus to clearly identify and deliver their allocated tasks.  Nexus Sprint Planning- Nexus sprint planning will involve the participation of the Product Owner and concerned teams' members from each team. The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Planning is to assign and co-ordinate activities for a single sprint.  Nexus Daily Scrum- This is like the daily stand up in Scrum. Nexus daily scrum is used to identify any issues and track progress. Any issues are immediately prioritized and solved so that they do not hinder the work of the developers.  Nexus Sprint Review- This event is held at the end of sprints to provide feedback on the increment that has been built and on any future updates that have to be made. Nexus Sprint Retrospective- Like in Scrum, Nexus retrospectives are an important part of the project and are used to reflect on how quality and consistency can be improved.  Some Nexus ArtifactsNexus artifacts are the same as Scrum artifacts and when implemented correctly ensure transparency and value maximization. Every artifact is designed to give a commitment. For example, the product backlog is the artifact and its commitment is the product goal. Other artifacts and their commitments include: Nexus Sprint Backlog-Nexus Sprint Goal Integrated Increment-Definition of Done Along with Nexus, LeSS is another popular framework for scaling agile.  Scaling Scrum with LeSS The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework is an offering from Atlassian and is a framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams that are working on the same product. The idea behind LeSS is to start with a single Scrum team as defined in the Scrum Guide and then replicate it to multiple teams who are working on a single product. LeSS has earned the label of being “barely sufficient” as it is a simple framework to apply and uses the basic concepts of Scrum to scale.  How do Sprint Planning meetings in LeSS work?  LeSS generally carries out sprint planning in two stages. Sprint Planning One focuses on selecting items that are of topmost priority, solving unanswered issues and defining the sprint goal. The Sprint Planning Two is like the sprint plan of regular Scrum and focuses on creating a plan of action for getting things done.  Daily meeting  The daily Scrum meeting in LeSS is similar to how it is done in normal single Scrum teams and involves team members discussing the work accomplished and the work to be done during the day. It is a time-boxed meeting and helps teams address any issues that may be hindering work.   Sprint Delivery Meeting (Review) The sprint review meeting is an essential part of LeSS and helps teams and stakeholders review the product built during the sprint and suggest changes and new ideas.   Retrospective The retrospective for LeSS is similar to one team Scrum. These retrospectives held at the end of the sprint will help teams to reflect on the progress of tasks, and identify the obstacles that may hinder or impede the overall project.  Let’s take a look at some of the other frameworks that are used for scaling agile. Scaling Scrum with SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe in short, follows the principles of lean and agile and helps in scaling Scrum to the enterprise. It helps to manage alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to ensure enterprise success. It systematically focuses on applying Scrum at each level of the enterprise, to maximize value and ensure a successful agile transformation.A successful SAFe adoption ensures end-to-end business agility with significant improvements in strategy, delivery, execution and business competencies. It helps organizations overcome competition and ensure innovative business solutions to gain customer trust and partnership. The SAFe framework is continuously improvised in order to help organizations cope with the digital age and ensure that business outcomes are delivered.Scaling Scrum with the Scrum@Scale frameworkAnother framework that allows organizations to implement Scrum at scale is the Scrum@Scale framework. This framework expands on the core principles of Scrum and helps to scale Scrum over a wide range of industries and sectors, ensuring customer satisfaction and creation of successful products. It promotes communication across all teams and departments, and optimizes resources, removes roadblocks and ensures creation of innovative products.A Final Word By driving Agile at the organizational level, companies can gain all the benefits of team-level Scrum at scale. More often than not the principles of team level Scrum are not sustainable at the enterprise level and the transformation fails. Tested and proven Agile scaling frameworks are now able to turn this around, and help organizations scale up the principles and practices of Scrum to become more adaptable, flexible and responsive. Professionals can master these frameworks and help their organization adopt the culture, mind-set and principles of Scrum and agile.  
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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small tea... Read More