What problems to expect when implementing Scrum?

Several volumes can be written about the kind of problems implementing Scrum.

The best approach when encountering any one of the myriad of problems, is to inspect and adapt in the spirit of continuous improvement.  Once the Team, Product Owner and Scrum Master want to be better and improve the ways they work, half the battle of implementation is won.

A few common patterns we see are highlighted below:

  1. Lack of knowledge. Often a team simply don’t understand enough about Scrum. Make sure that everyone is properly trained in Scrum practice.  Don’t assume knowledge about Scrum just because it seems easy – make sure everyone receives appropriate training.Lack of knowledge outside the Scrum Team can also prove to be challenging.  A Scrum Master might need to train leadership teams, PMO Office, Marketing Department or any part of the organisation that interfaces with the Scrum Team, so these people understand what input is needed and what output can be expected from a Scrum Team.
  1. Resistance to change. In an established organisation in particular, there can be reluctance to part with the old ways of working, even if those ways prove to be less than optimal.  As a change agent, it is important for the Scrum Master to have a clear, communicated vision for Scrum and the Team in the organisation. A Scrum Master will do well to familiarise themselves with an appropriate change management technique.
  2. Scrum Values. Although it is not always a problem implementing, it is good practise to embed the Scrum values of openness, focus, commitment, courage and respect from the very beginning.  If a team, Scrum Master and Product Owner are “open” or transparent, have courage and trust to speak up about problems as soon as they become known, it is much easier to improve on these problems before they become rooted.

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