So it has happened , your company is switching to Scrum. Your boss came into your office today and asked you to head the transformation to Scrum. Of course you jumped at the chance, I mean who doesn’t want to be known for rolling out a company wide project? The problem is you really aren’t sure what Scrum is and in fact you thought it was something from your glory days of intramural Rugby at college.
Why do you care about learning Scrum before trying to implement it in your organization. It is just another process to learn or tool to use right? No Scrum is much more than a set of rules that can be recited and implemented in a 1/2 day. To really get the benefit from Scrum you will need commit to investing time in learning about Scrum. Continuous improvement is a key of Scrum. Everyone in your organization should have some idea of what Scrum is in order for your organization to thrive.
What is the quickest way for you to scale your learning curve
Books – Grabbing a book is the easiest way to begin to wrap your brain around Scrum. The first book I would recommend would be Agile and Iterative Development by Craig Larman book here while it is an Agile book it does give you a great perspective on Agile methodologies and why these methods work. Mike Cohn is an author and has a very helpful blog on Scrum/Agile development, you should read anything he puts out. Reading is essential for learning Scrum but it’s going to take some time versus attending training or hiring a coach.
Conference – Attending an Agile conference is a great way to get your Scrumification (knowledge of Scrum) whipped into shape. Depending on where you live you should be able to find a conference to attend a couple times a year without having to travel too far. A conference is a great way to meet other agile practitioners with different levels of experience. If you just starting out in Scrum you will be surprised how many people you will run into who are in the same boat. Conferences also offer consulting companies a chance to set up booth space to showcase options for training and coaching should you decide to go that route.
Training – Get a training budget and send some key members of the Scrum team off to training. Many Scrum Consultants offer different training options, from fundamentals to Certified ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or Scrum Developer. In an ideal world send the whole Scrum team off to be certified in each of their roles. At a minimum you should certify your Product Owner and ScrumMaster. Developers in your organization are more likely to have some familiarity with Scrum practices while the stakeholder/project manager might have limited exposure to Scrum. That doesn’t mean there is not value in sending the developers to training as well, the Scrum Developer training goes into depth about best practices for development and testing. Your budget will be the deciding factor in training, so use it wisely.
Hire a Scrum Coach – While this is probably the most expensive option, it is the quickest and most thorough. There are many different options here but the basic premise is you hire a certified coach to come into your organization. For a set amount of time the coach will observe and interact with your team. The goal of the Scrum Coach is to guide your team into a well oiled Scrum team as fast as possible.
These are just a few ways to increase your knowledge of Scrum. Hopefully you can tell by now that the most important part of learning Scrum is to keep learning about Scrum. There is no one perfect way to learn Scrum and your learning is never done. Insert joke about not having a proper definition of done here. Just as your team should strive for continuous improvement so should you.