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The Impact Of The Scrum Master’s Personality On Team Success

The personality of a person is a combination of characteristics of a person including behaviors, habits, thoughts, emotions, feelings perceptions, etc. which helps identify him or her distinctively. These characteristics spring up, develop and evolve from factors within the person as well as factors from the environment or context in which the individual operates. Personality comes from within a person and it will determine how the person thinks, feels and behaves. Personality normally remains similar throughout the lifetime of the individual but can be trained to make certain changes in personality.The Scrum Master plays an important role directly impacting the success of an Agile Scrum project. The Agile Alliance defines a Scrum Master as ‘the team role responsible for ensuring that the Scrum team lives Agile values and principles and follows the processes and practices that the team agreed to use in the project’. The scrum master is the owner of the scrum process where he or she is responsible for defining the process to be adopted by the team. He is expected to protect the team from internal and external influences and dependencies and be able to facilitate negotiation sessions in situations of conflict. The scrum master is not a manager but a ‘servant leader’ of the team working with the team to achieve the goals and objectives of the project. The scrum master is also responsible for facilitating the scrum ceremonies driving the project forward by overcoming impediments encountered on a day-to-day basis.Personality of the Scrum MasterThe scrum master’s personality plays a pivotal role when achieving the responsibilities listed above. The following is an attempt to discuss the impact of scrum master’s personality on team success based on the ‘Big 5 personality traits’. These personality traits are as listed below.Watch the video from the link below to learn more about the 5 personality traits.Having a scrum master who is outgoing and energetic or in other words, an extrovert will be beneficial for the project as opposed to having a reserved, socially aloof scrum master. The scrum master is expected to build positive relationships with both internal and external stakeholders and be able to create a positive vibe when the going gets tough. A scrum master who is an extrovert would walk the extra mile with the team for the betterment of the team by collaborating and communicating with stakeholders.The scrum master must be friendly and compassionate as opposed to being detached from his or her team members. In other words, it is good for a scrum master to have the personality trait of agreeableness. The scrum master must be able to listen to stakeholders with empathy, understand the real context, and be trustworthy and helpful without getting into arguments or preconceptions. This personality trait of a scrum master would also ensure that team members are well protected from external threats and will ensure the interests of team members and other project stakeholders are met.Agile teams are expected to be innovative and think out of the box. It is beneficial for a team to have a scrum master who is curious and open to an experience. Scrum teams learn from mistakes and are often open to try out new things. A good scrum master would be able to facilitate this process by encouraging the team members to try out new things both in the project as well as in the solution being developed.Scrum teams are expected to be self-organised and efficient. A scrum master with these characteristics will be organised in executing the scrum process applicable to the project in an efficient manner. A conscientious scrum master will ensure that scrum meetings are well organised, properly facilitated, outcome-oriented and purposeful. Meeting invites, agendas will be clearly defined with each stakeholder kept true to the agenda. An organised scrum master will also make sure that enough documentation is done in an organised manner may it be with regards to requirements, project management, design, quality assurance etc.Scrum masters must be emotionally stable and capable of controlling sudden anger or stress. A good scrum master must be able to conceptualize and think logically while considering the bigger picture rather than being overwhelmed by emotions. In a team environment, the scrum master will need to deal with people with different personalities that can have a positive or negative impact on the project. A secure and confident scrum master will be confident about his/her own capabilities as well as the capabilities of the team members and be able to motivate the team members to overcome any situation.Finally…Personality plays an important role in a team environment. The personality of the scrum master or the leader of the team is essential to make sure of the resources and to mold the team into a victorious team. What type of a scrum master are you? Do you have the aforementioned personalities within you?
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The Impact Of The Scrum Master’s Personality On Team Success

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The Impact Of The Scrum Master’s Personality On Team Success

The personality of a person is a combination of characteristics of a person including behaviors, habits, thoughts, emotions, feelings perceptions, etc. which helps identify him or her distinctively. These characteristics spring up, develop and evolve from factors within the person as well as factors from the environment or context in which the individual operates. Personality comes from within a person and it will determine how the person thinks, feels and behaves. Personality normally remains similar throughout the lifetime of the individual but can be trained to make certain changes in personality.

The Scrum Master plays an important role directly impacting the success of an Agile Scrum project. The Agile Alliance defines a Scrum Master as ‘the team role responsible for ensuring that the Scrum team lives Agile values and principles and follows the processes and practices that the team agreed to use in the project’. The scrum master is the owner of the scrum process where he or she is responsible for defining the process to be adopted by the team. He is expected to protect the team from internal and external influences and dependencies and be able to facilitate negotiation sessions in situations of conflict. The scrum master is not a manager but a ‘servant leader’ of the team working with the team to achieve the goals and objectives of the project. The scrum master is also responsible for facilitating the scrum ceremonies driving the project forward by overcoming impediments encountered on a day-to-day basis.


Personality of the Scrum Master

The scrum master’s personality plays a pivotal role when achieving the responsibilities listed above. The following is an attempt to discuss the impact of scrum master’s personality on team success based on the ‘Big 5 personality traits’. These personality traits are as listed below.
Personality of the Scrum Master
Watch the video from the link below to learn more about the 5 personality traits.

Having a scrum master who is outgoing and energetic or in other words, an extrovert will be beneficial for the project as opposed to having a reserved, socially aloof scrum master. The scrum master is expected to build positive relationships with both internal and external stakeholders and be able to create a positive vibe when the going gets tough. A scrum master who is an extrovert would walk the extra mile with the team for the betterment of the team by collaborating and communicating with stakeholders.

The scrum master must be friendly and compassionate as opposed to being detached from his or her team members. In other words, it is good for a scrum master to have the personality trait of agreeableness. The scrum master must be able to listen to stakeholders with empathy, understand the real context, and be trustworthy and helpful without getting into arguments or preconceptions. This personality trait of a scrum master would also ensure that team members are well protected from external threats and will ensure the interests of team members and other project stakeholders are met.

Agile teams are expected to be innovative and think out of the box. It is beneficial for a team to have a scrum master who is curious and open to an experience. Scrum teams learn from mistakes and are often open to try out new things. A good scrum master would be able to facilitate this process by encouraging the team members to try out new things both in the project as well as in the solution being developed.

Scrum teams are expected to be self-organised and efficient. A scrum master with these characteristics will be organised in executing the scrum process applicable to the project in an efficient manner. A conscientious scrum master will ensure that scrum meetings are well organised, properly facilitated, outcome-oriented and purposeful. Meeting invites, agendas will be clearly defined with each stakeholder kept true to the agenda. An organised scrum master will also make sure that enough documentation is done in an organised manner may it be with regards to requirements, project management, design, quality assurance etc.

Scrum masters must be emotionally stable and capable of controlling sudden anger or stress. A good scrum master must be able to conceptualize and think logically while considering the bigger picture rather than being overwhelmed by emotions. In a team environment, the scrum master will need to deal with people with different personalities that can have a positive or negative impact on the project. A secure and confident scrum master will be confident about his/her own capabilities as well as the capabilities of the team members and be able to motivate the team members to overcome any situation.

Finally…

Personality plays an important role in a team environment. The personality of the scrum master or the leader of the team is essential to make sure of the resources and to mold the team into a victorious team. What type of a scrum master are you? Do you have the aforementioned personalities within you?

Rumesh

Rumesh Wijetunge

Chief Innovation Officer - Zaizi Limited, Chief Operating Officer - LearntIn (Pvt) Ltd., Director /

Rumesh is an IT business leader with over 12 years of industry experience as a business analyst and project manager. He is currently the CIO of Zaizi Limited, a UK based data management company heading the operations in Sri Lanka, the COO of LearntIn, a global training institute based in Sri Lanka and is also a lecturer / trainer at multiple private universities on management, IT, business analysis and project management subjects. He is the current president of the IIBA Sri Lanka chapter and is one of the most qualified and sought after trainers in Sri Lanka. Refer his LinkedIn profile for more details and to see more articles he has written on linkedin

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Agile Project Management: Best Practices and Methodologies

Agile is an iterative and incremental solution development methodology that focusses on delivering value to the customer by seeking customer feedback, embracing and adapting to change and striving for improvement continuously.  The Agile Manifesto along with the Agile Principles are at the heart and in the spirit of the various Agile Frameworks which are being adopted increasingly by Enterprises as their Project Management Framework. Agile Project Management Agile Project Frameworks Scrum, Kanban, XP, SAFe are some of the Agile Frameworks that are have replaced traditional waterfall and predictive approaches of Software Project Management. Long standing philosophies such as Lean and practices like TDD, BDD, Pair Programming etc are leveraged into these frameworks.  Scrum and Kanban are the most popular Agile Frameworks used today with Scrum being used in almost 58% of Agile Projects as per the Annual State of Agile Report 2020. Scrum uses a time-boxed iterative approach to develop incremental products and solutions with each iteration spanning 2 /3/ 4 weeks. Kanban does not have time-boxed iterations and focusses on establishing flow of work by controlling WIP (Work In Progress) and is well suited for maintenance, support or Helpdesk projects. In this article we will discuss about Agile Project Management using Scrum. Before looking at the Scrum framework briefly, we need to understand two very important aspects in which Agile Project Management is different from traditional Waterfall – Scope and Estimation. The Iron Triangle Unlike traditional projects, in Agile the schedule and the cost involved for a project is largely fixed. The scope is the variable entity and is adjusted as per the latest information and feedback from customers. The focus is on delivering value rather than following a rigid and detailed plan laid out at the beginning of the project. In Scrum for example, every Sprint runs for a fixed time-box and changes to agile team composition is not recommended. Iron TriangleEstimation – Relative Sizing Agile recommends “relative sizing“of work items that enables predictability rather than complex estimation techniques striving for accuracyAgile EstimationIn the Image 2 above people on the road looking at the buildings would most likely converge on the fact that Building A is the smallest of the three, Building B is twice that of A , Building C is the tallest – almost 3 times that of Building A. This can be done quickly at the first glance. In contrast if they must estimate the actual height of the building in metres it is prone to error and there are going to be a lot of differences. The power of relative sizing lies in the fact that we do not strive for accuracy (in the example the height of the building in metre) but focus on sizing the work and achieving predictability over the course of time. Instead of complex effort estimation in man days/hours, High level Epics /Features are usually estimated by the T-shirt sizes (Small, Medium, Large, X-Large) and Stories are estimated and given “Story Points” that follow the  modified Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100) Brief overview of Scrum Framework The Scrum framework comprises of the roles, events and artifacts and describe how these entities interconnect with each other in order to implement the framework.   Scrum follows an iterative approach where development cycles are 2 /3/4 weeks long. At the end of every iteration an incremental version of the product/solution is ready to be shipped. Each event /artifact/role in the scrum framework serves a purpose and furthers the goal of Agile project development. Let us go over each of them in detail. Scrum FrameworkRelease Planning  Although Agile does not recommend detailed rigid plans laid out well in advance, it does not altogether forego planning. There is a high-level Release Planning at the beginning of the release and shorter detailed Sprint planning events at the beginning of every Sprint. Having short planning phases throughout the project implementation helps to adapt to changes and course correct at responsible milestones. For large organizations where multiple scrum teams work towards developing a solution, planning and timing a release is very important. The organization might choose to time the release as per Customer(s) demand or at an established cadence (e.g every quarter) or in alignment with certain events (e.g tradeshow/ compliance deadline etc). The release planning is a look ahead planning with an objective of arriving at the scope of the release considering the schedule and budget as fixed components of the iron triangle. The two important inputs required for this event is a prioritized product backlog and the velocity of the teams participating in the release (historic data for teams running on agile and an informed guesstimate for the new teams.) The teams will roughly plan out their upcoming sprints (if a release spans 12 weeks there can be 5 sprints of 2 weeks each followed by a 2 week “hardening sprint”). At the end of this planning event there is a list of prioritized features that can be accommodated in the release and a high-level plan for each sprint.  Scrum Roles  The Scrum Master, Product Owner and the development team form the “3 Amigos”. There is a good amount of trust and a healthy relationship amongst the people playing these three roles. Healthy conflicts and disagreements between these three entities is expected and bound to occur. At these times the teams are guided by the Scrum Values of Respect, Courage and Openness. At all times the scrum team practices commitment and focus to achieve the Sprint Goals and further the Agile Values and Principles. The Three AmigosResponsibilites of Each RoleScrum Artifacts Product Backlog: A Product Backlog consists of all the new features, changes to the existing features, technical requirements such as infrastructure upgrades or architectural requirements that might become a part of the product. This is continuously refined by the product manager, product owners and the scrum teams. The purpose of the refinement is to prioritize, split and detail the contents of the backlog so that the first set of items in the backlog are ready to be picked by the teams during their Sprint Planning. Sprint Backlog: The items picked from the Product Backlog and committed by the team for a Sprint constitutes the Sprint Backlog. It is unlikely to change during the course of the Sprint/iteration. A product owner could introduce changes in consensus with the team. Multiple changes to the sprint backlog within the Sprint timeframe should be discouraged and root cause analysis has to be performed during retrospective meeting if this happens often. Product Increment: The work items ready to be delivered at the end of a Sprint is a Product Increment. It has to be in a potentially shippable condition and meet the definition of done as defined by the team and has to be accepted by the Product Owner as complete and ready for release. Scrum Ceremonies / Events EventFrequency of OccurrenceDescriptionBacklog RefinementContinuousEpics and features are estimated and broken down to Stories. Stories are broken down and acceptance criteria are added. The Backlog is prioritized and ordered.Sprint PlanningOnce at the beginning of a Sprint lasting up to 4 hours for a 2-week SprintThe top priority stories that are refined and ready for the team is picked. The teams estimate the stories and load the sprint up to their Capacity. The historic Velocity and the current capacity (leaves and holidays adjusted) are taken into account for loading the Sprint.SprintCan be 2 /3/4 weeks longNot recommended to change the Sprint duration often. The cadence once set has to run for at least 3 to 4 Sprints to collect data for becoming predictable.Daily Stand upEvery day for 10-15 minutesThe Scrum Master facilitates the event and the team shares the happenings of previous day, strategize and plan for current day. Impediments /concerns are raised.Sprint ReviewOnce at the end of the SprintThe working software is demonstrated to stakeholders. Based on Sprint Review and outcomes, inputs and changes are done to the Product BacklogSprint RetrospectiveOnce at the end of the SprintThis is the "sacred time of learning" for the entire team. Issues and problems faced during the Sprint are discussed, root cause analysis performed and team arrives at solutions to resolve and prevent in future. The team identifies areas of improvement.Scrum ceremonies or eventsScrum Values  Courage - Every team member feels safe to fail and learn, to seek help, to say ‘no’ and question something that is going wrong. Commitment – Commits to the Sprint goals as a team. Does not overcommit.  Focus - Aims to complete what is started and steer away from distractions and unprioritized / "shoulder tap" work. Limits Work in Progress. Openness - Seeks and values feedback and opportunities to learn. Makes impediments, failures and learnings visible. Respect - Team collaborates and acknowledges the work and achievements of every member. Builds trust. Quantitative Metrics Organizations can collect and measure various metrices. The below metrics are most likely to be captured by most of the projects and add value. Burn Down Chart: The Burn down chart is a run chart of the rate at which the scrum team completes work within a sprint in terms of number of Story points completed per day.  Velocity: Velocity is the number of story points completed and accepted by the Product owner within a Sprint.  Collecting data on velocity enables teams, releases and projects become more predictable. Other than the absolute velocity, another important perspective of velocity data is % of story points delivered against total story points committed by the team. Velocity cannot be used to compare the efficiency of teams since 3 story points for one team is different for another team. Quality related Metrics: Quality related metrics like number of defects reported in production after release, number of defects in Integration testing are captured to understand the level of Quality. Armed with quantitative data the teams can come up with ways to improve Quality.  Agile Projects at Scale While the scrum framework prescribes the guidelines to run an Agile team, the same can be extrapolated and mechanisms can be put in place to scale it to multiple teams. SAFe and Nexus offer frameworks to scale Agile in large Enterprises. Large projects in Enterprises involve multiple teams and dependencies with other functions, divisions and with third party partners, suppliers and vendors. The complexities of large solutions and programs require Governance, Compliance, Stakeholder Management, Streamlined Communication, Conflict and Risk management. The Agile Program Management Office takes care of establishing Agile at scale with the help of Senior Leadership, Agile Coaches and Change Agents (who could be the Agile Project Managers and Scrum Masters). Role of the Agile Project Manager The Agile PM plays an important role when doing Agile at scale in large enterprises. While working towards a seamless project release by interfacing with the multiple scrum teams and various stakeholders, the Agile PM also plays a key role in the Agile transformation journey of the Enterprise.   Agile at ScaleAgile Project ManagerScrum Master and Agile PM Roles Agile Projects at scale requires the role of a Scrum Master for the internal functioning of the team and the Agile PM for aligning multiple teams and orchestrating the activities of a Release. Agile PMScrum MasterTakes care of the facilitation, risk management, conflict management, handling of impediments that span multiple teams and external stakeholders.  Engages closely with Senior Leadership, Product Managers, Product Owners, Scrum Masters to ensure smooth implementation of the current release, forward plans for the subsequent release and co-ordinates the Post production activities of the previous release. Facilitates the Scrum of Scrums synch meetings at a regular cadence (every week).  The Agile PM guides the scrum masters to resolve risks and impediments within the team if and when escalated. Takes care of these activities within the scrum team. The Scrum Master focuses on the current sprint and current release. Facilitates Scrum Ceremonies. Participates in the Scrum of Scrums and updates if the team is on track to meet the Sprint Objectives and if there is any change/ risk foreseen. During this meeting the Scrum Masters raise any impediments /risks/concerns they are unable to resolve and need help with. Release Management Continuous Integration and Deployment: With incremental versions of the product after every iteration from multiple teams early continuous integration is the need of the hour. Investing in an automated Continuous deployment into the Staging or Production environment is encouraged so that the latest version of the product is release ready. Enterprises are increasingly using toggle configurations to switch on/off a set of features so that the release can be done for a particular market segment or can be timed with an important milestone like a tradeshow. By separating the deployment and actual release, there is a lot of risk avoided. The actual product release can be announced at the right time – as per Market demand/ after a robust Beta has been done and feedback incorporated/timed with a compliance deadline or important milestone like tradeshows. Post-production Support: Releasing working software at regular intervals is not the end of the road. Customer Support, training and customer documentation where required is necessary and these activities should also come under the purview of an Agile Working environment.  Beta and Canary Release: Large Enterprises engage with Beta customers to get focussed feedback on the product before a wider market release. Solutions and products can also be released to a particular market segment or a subset of users alone. This is called a “Canary Release”. This phased approach rather than a big bang approach will ensure the risk level is reduced and the quality of the product and credibility of the Enterprise is maintained.  How is an Agile PM different from the Conventional PM  The roles and responsibilities of a conventional Project Manager is now distributed amongst the Scrum Teams, Scrum Master, Product Owner and the Agile Project Manager. But the most important but subtle difference between the Conventional PM and Agile PM is the mindset.  The Agile PM is a Servant Leader who wants to create a self-empowered self-organized team. He/she creates an agile environment where everyone is accountable, there is no fear of failure but the willingness to learn and continuously improve. The Agile PM avoids the traditional Command and Control approach where decisions are taken for the teams. .  There is also a conscious effort to decentralize decision making so that decisions are taken closer to where work is done. There is always an emphasis for visualization of work and transparency. Go-to Traits for a Successful Agile Project Self-Organized Teams: Self-organized teams that are empowered and largely self-sufficient is an important facet of Agile. Teams are used to conventional ways of working where they look up to their superiors for decision making. Decentralized decision making will help largely to create empowered teams Responsive to Change: creating empowered teams enable them to respond to change responsibly with minimum red tape. Quick Feedback Loops: Agile thrives when there are quick feedback loops established so that teams can adapt to change based on informed decisions. Continuous Improvement: Learning from the past and resolving not to repeat mistakes is an important facet of Agile teams. Retrospection at end of every iteration and release is highly recommended. Business Agility: It would not be enough if engineering teams are agile and churn out software seamlessly. “Building the product right “is not sufficient and the teams should “Build the right product”. Solutions and products have to meet the customer needs and solve Customer Problems.  All functions such as product management, marketing, sales HR have to come into the purview of Agile Principles and Values to achieve the kind of Business Agility that is required to be Customer Centric and deliver value. In conclusion, Agile is a paradigm shift from the phased traditional waterfall methods which run on detailed plans laid well ahead. Agile Project Management is the need of the hour considering the rapidly changing market scenario, disruptive technologies and the ever- growing competition.  Before embarking on Agile projects organizations have to invest the time and effort to create a conducive Agile Work environment. The bare basics of Agile training and creation of small Agile teams (5 to 9 members recommended) with the vision to make the teams self-organized need to be in place. Agile Coaches and Change agents have to be identified to ensure the Agile transformation starts and keeps pace with small strides and does not die a natural death with teams, business and leadership falling back to traditional waterfall methods in the name of agile. 
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The State of Agile in 2020 and the Covid19 Impact

How are agile businesses changing in 2020?  Digital.ai, the creator of the industry’s first intelligent Value Stream, recently published its 14th Annual State of Agile Report, along with a survey addendum to reflect the current 2020 landscape. The report took a look into the enterprise, what Agile techniques companies are implementing, their benefits, and what’s trending. The report provides the most comprehensive data in the world to benchmark your Agile practice and plan your next wave of expansion. The survey documents the experiences of more than 1,100 business and IT professionals across a range of industries and roles worldwide.  About 40,000 Agile practitioners, consultants, and executives have shared their insights to make this the longest-running and largest report of its kind. For the first time, it revealed insights beyond the general results by filtering the results along the demographic lines. The analysis indicates a correlation between the time practicing Agile, the ability to manage the changing priorities, and improved time to market.  In this article, we give you the complete lowdown on the state of Agile in 2020 including the COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile. Agile in numbers Let us explore the top responsesto the survey in numbers. Respondents answered their top reasons for implementing Agile techniques, which techniquesand methodologies they employ the most, what tools they recommend most, and the top benefits of using Agile. Top five reasons for adopting AgileTop five benefits of adopting agileRespondents were asked why their teams adopted Agile methodologies and techniques. These were the most responded benefits: Accelerate software delivery (71 percent) Enhance the ability to manage changing priorities (63 percent) Increased productivity (51 percent) Improve business/IT alignment (47 percent) Enhance software quality (42 percent)  This year, the reasons for implementing Agile were more about reducing project risks as opposed to reducing project costs.Top five Agile techniques employedThese are the five most used tactics that help teams adhere to the twelve principles of Agile.Top five Agile techniques employedThe Daily Standup was the most common Agile technique used in organizations. The most notable changes from last year was a decrease in Release Planning (51 percent this year as opposed to 57 percent last year) and an increase in Product Road Mapping (49 percent this year as opposed to 45 percent last year). Top five benefits of adopting AgileTop five benefits of adopting AgileWe see that the top five benefits of adopting Agile are built around speed and adaptability. Project Cost Reduction was last on the list with only 26 percent of the respondents considering it to be the benefit of Agile implementation. Top five Agile methodologies Top five Agile methodologiesThe survey shows that Scrum and its variants are the most common methodologies used for Agile implementation. 3 percent of the respondents didn’t have any idea of the methodology used by their organization.  Top five Agile project management toolsTop recommended project management toolsRespondents were asked if they would recommend the tools on the basis of their experience. Atlassian JIRA and VersionOne were the most recommended tools. Five critical takeaways from the 2020 State of Agile Report Many organizations still learning to adopt AgilePercentage of teams using AgileThe survey showed that only 18 percent of the organizations implemented Agile for all the teams. 77 percent of the organizations had still not implemented Agile in all the company’s teams. With 5 percent of the organizations yet to adopt Agile, there is clearly plenty of area for growth. Agile maturityWhile 95 percent of organizations have some form of agile process in place, practice maturity and adoption remain a work in progress. Around 50 percent of respondents report that less than half of their teams are using agile, and 84 percent acknowledge that their organizations are below a high level of competencies.  Areas other than software development yet to take advantage of AgileAreas of organization practicing AgileAgile practices are not limited to software organizations. The survey data showed that while Software Development continues to be the major area for Agile adoption, other areas like IT and Operations have also started adopting the methodology. Other areas in the organization are yet to take advantage of everything the Agile approach has to offer. More business outcome KPIs, fewer metrics As per the respondents, accelerated delivery speed is the most critical measure of the success of Agile initiatives. Next is improved quality, followed by reduced risk and increased customer satisfaction. Reduced IT costs is low on the spectrum with just 39 percent considering it as important for measuring success.  How success is measured in Agile transformationsAgile success and metricsWhen asked how organizations measure success of Agile transformations, the top measures of success were consistent with those reported over the last few years. Outcomes, customer satisfaction and business value, ranked higher than outputs like on-time delivery and productivity. The survey results for this section remain consistent over the past few years. There might be some ups and downs. But overall, Customer Satisfaction and Business Value are at a higher rank than productivity and on-time delivery. How success is measured in individual Agile projectsAgile success and metricsAs with Agile transformations, business value delivered, and customer or user satisfaction remained the top two cited measures of success within for individual projects.  Scaling Agile faces culture challengesMethods and approaches of scaling AgileAbout one-third of respondents are applying the Scaled Agile Framework, roughly another third are using other scaling frameworks, and another third stated they didn't know/other. There appear to be several common challenges scaling agile as over 40 percent of respondents cited six different challenges/barriers with adopting and scaling agile practices. These included: resistance to change, lack of leadership participation, inconsistent processes, misaligned organization versus agile values, inadequate management support, and insufficient training.    Challenges experienced when adopting and scaling AgileEnterprises are adopting the framework at a remarkable rate that shows that companies want to get the benefits of a structured framework included in the Lean/Agile BoK of SAFe.  The lack of qualified professionals also remains one of the common challenges with insufficient leadership participation (46 percent) at number 2 and lack of experience or skills with Agile methods (41 percent) at number 6.  The report also shows that culture is at the primary target of change as it affects the thinking and working of the organization. Agile organizations slowly adopting DevOps DevOps practices are a strong partner to agile methodologies, and 69 percent of survey respondents stated that DevOps transformation was either important or very important to their organization. But adoption of DevOps practices lags its important with only 55 percent employing continuous integrations and 41 percent continuous delivery. Only 36 percent practice continuous deployment. The top two benefits targeted are accelerated delivery speed (70 percent) and improved quality (62 percent). But respondents are tackling quality first with 67 percent implementing unit testing and 58 percent coding standards, even higher engineering practices over the 55 percent on continuous integration.  More than half of the respondents reported that their organization was already implementing Value Stream Management (VSM) or have plans to do so. VSM is a combination of people, technology, and processes that maps, measures, optimized, visualized, and governs the business value flow using a heterogeneous enterprise delivery pipeline.  Each level of automation requires investment and additional work to prove its robustness. There are seven prerequisites before improving release frequencies, and that requires investment in aspects of these seven DevOps practices. Even so, there are questions DevOps teams should answer before increasing deployment frequency. Summary of key insights Currently, the Agile approach is predominantly implemented in the software or information technology sector. The benefits an organization can reap once Agile is implemented in other areas as well would be tremendous. Here is a quick summary of key insights from the report: Cost reduction is not anymore one of the primary reasons to adopt the Agile approach. Identifying technical risk before deployment is considered very valuable by 34 percent of the respondents, which was 22 percent last year. Greater Agile maturity is correlated to the time of practicing Agile. The length of time since Agile adoption is also related to the increased ability to manage the changing priorities and improved time market. Organizations that have practiced Agile for more than 5 years have a greater percentage of DevOps initiatives and interest in Value Stream Management.  Companies with 20,000 or more people are more likely to have been using Agile for 5 or more years. Companies with less than 1,000 people correlated to a higher percentage of all their teams implementing the Agile approach.  More than half of the respondents stated their companies are either implementing VSM or have plans to do so.  Risk and compliance increased by 54 percent to be the top value to identify and measure technical risk before the deployment begins. SAFe is the most popular scaling method, increasing 5 percent over the last year. There was a shift in Agile techniques as release planning decreased by 11 percent while product road-mapping increased by 9 percent. This change can be attributed to the increase in CI/CD and better program increment planning. Currently, Agile is mainly confined to software development, operations, and the IT sector. However, it is expected that by next year, the organization will expand agility into areas beyond developing, deploying, and maintaining software solutions. The COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a health emergency worldwide. Leaders across industries are moving promptly to protect employees and build resilience, as the impact of the crisis continues to mount. In mid-May 2020, Digital.ai conducted a brief supplemental survey of respondents to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their Agile adoption. Supplemental findings reveal that: 55 percent say their company plans to increase the use of Agile in the next 12-14 months. This is an increase of 13 percent over the original survey completed just five months ago. 43 percent of organizations say their momentum for Agile adoption has increased over the past 90 days, with 15 percent saying it has increased significantly. 33 percent say they increased or expanded Agile adoption in the last 90 days to help manage distributed teams. In summary, forecasters continue to predict how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, but it seems inevitable that many organizations will be working remotely for the foreseeable future.Implemented correctly, an agile approach can help remote teams function effectively and build resilience for the future.  Following the pandemic, working from home more frequently (perhaps 2-3 days per week) may become an accepted norm for many companies, as this could realize cost efficiencies and prove that an agile, remote working model is productive.
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The State of Agile in 2020 and the Covid19 Impact

How are agile businesses changing in 2020?  Digit... Read More

How to take Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) course online

A Product Owner is one of the three main roles defined in Scrum.The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work performed by the Development Team. However, how the Product Owner accomplishes this can vary widely depending on many factors, including the team, the business stakeholders, and the development processes of the organization. The job description of a product owner is to act on behalf of the customer, prioritize the backlog, answer, or get answers to the team’s queries and accept/reject the work that the team generates. To fulfill these responsibilities, the product owner needs skills such as facilitation, conflict management, creative thinking, and the ability to influence the team and other stakeholders.  From a business point of view, the role of the Product Owner is a very important and challenging role.To adequately take on the role of a Product Owner, one would need to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®).The first step towards getting a CSPO certification is to start with the Certified Scrum Product Owner® course with a certified coach or trainer.  The CSPO course can now be taken online!  The CSPO course was earlier offered by Scrum Alliance only as an in-person classroom training. The premise was that for better learning, students need to interact with each other and the trainer through the in-person classes.  However, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, Scrum Alliance now offers live online training in addition to the traditional in-person classroom training. Currently, all the courses are temporarily available in an online format including the Certified Product Owner class.  A KnowledgeHut live online CSPO training program in May 2020With this development, students can participate in the course from the safety and comfort of their homes. Along with the convenience and comfort, live online training also reduces the expenses, time, and travel involved for students and trainers. Most importantly, online CSPO training can be utilized in taking up advanced certifications and generate more time for self-learning. KnowledgeHut's live online CSPO training programs are fun and vibrant, while maintaining the same rigor and diligence as the in-person classroom training programs.Another advantage offered by online training is that students can revisit the lectures as many times as they can. It helps students to pay full attention to the CST® and they do not need to feel pressured to take notes during class. For whatever reason, if a class is missed, students can always peruse the lecture later. Online training also allows the CST to get creative in different ways to impart the learning. The use of tools, graphics and videos make for rich learning content to help you understand the concepts better.  How different is the CSPO online training from the conventional in-person training?  As opposed to the traditional 16-hour long in-person course, the online course is just 14 hours long. Scrum Alliance has also capped the online course size to 30 so that students have maximum engagement and learning experience. Unlike the in-person course that had 7-8 hours long classes for two consecutive days, online classes will be held with shorter hours for multiple consecutive days. For the online course, the CST will teach the candidates in real-time using a webcam and other tools that allow them to interact with the students. The classes are interactive so that students can collaborate with one another virtually. How to take the CSPO course online  Here are the steps to take the CSPO course online: Download the virtual meeting tool specified by your Registered Education Provider (REP). If you have a registered Email ID with the Scrum Alliance, use the same one to register for this program. Ensure that your camera and mic are activated. Also, you must have a good internet connection. Your trainer might use some tools for making the training engaging. You might also be asked to download them or sign up before the session starts. You will have to log in at least 15 minutes before the training begins. As the training starts, you will be connected to the audio through your computer’s speakers and microphone. All the participants must keep their microphone on mute during the session. In case of any query or question, you can ask it in the chat window. Always keep a pen and paper by your side. At the beginning and end of the session, your attendance will be recorded. If your attendance is not recorded both times, you will be marked as absent and you will not receive your Certification link. The trainer will share the soft copy of the courseware with you. At the end of the training, you will have to fill out a Survey that is mandatory for receiving your certification. How can I become a Certified Scrum Product Owner® via the online training program? Here are the steps for you to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner: Enroll yourself with a Registered Education Provider or REP of Scrum Alliance like KnowledgeHut.  Study the Agile Manifesto and Scrum guide thoroughly. Attend the mandatory 2-day training for Certified Scrum Product Owner certification. The objective of the course is to help you qualify for the certificate by teaching your Scrum’s concepts. After you have completed the course, your CST will update your details to the website of Scrum Alliance. Once this is done, Scrum Alliance will send you a welcome email asking to log into your account and accept your license. Log in with the link provided in the email and reset your password. You will get your license after this. After this, you will receive your CSPO certification along with a 2-year membership with Scrum Alliance. (Currently, you are not required to give a test for the certification.) Getting started with the CSPO course A Product Owner is an integral part of Agile projects and can go a long way in accelerating the velocity of the project and achieving the goals well within the deadlines.With the popularity of Agile and Scrum growing, the demand for product owners is certain to grow. Upskill yourself as a Certified Scrum Product Owner and capitalize on the career growth opportunity.  
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How to take Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CS...

A Product Owner is one of the three main roles def... Read More

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