Two month ago, a friend of mine, how had recently integrated a new department as project manager, was quite disconcerted about how chaotic the situation was in this department. As she had arrived there a few weeks ago, she had to learn her new environment and at the same time assess her five persons team issues, and perhaps lacks. She had to deal with an external software provider with a blurry contract, an help desk service without process and jut out from the user rises, and a team of specialists not prone to share their knowledges. Did you ever meet this ?
We met several times and discussed together about how she could take advantage of Scrum, and how fun this would be. Of course her first opinion, as often from my experience, was that this could be great but unfortunatly would be too difficult to implement. Most of all she anticipated big resistances from her team because of the cultural gap that this shift would mean.
So we focused on her own top-priority problems and forgot the team itself for a moment. This first work was merged with her short-term personal objective to present an action plan to her management. I suggested to initiate a simple speardsheet with the list of the missions asignated to the department for the next months, breaking them down into palpable items. Then she sorted the items by priority in the departement point of view, by setting them up a "business value". Finally, we took another coffee and began speaking about our last week-end because our first work was done. Now, she would go back to her team to present this backlog, ask for estimations on the first items, and see what happens...
Last week, we met again. Good news: she's much better. Trying to estimate the top-priority items and to identify who will be in charge of it made the team diagnose that two persons were missing to be able to reach its next objectives. The management accepted the hire request because it was following from its own priorities. The team feels much better because it now shares the global vision of the department and feels confortable with the work to do, expecting support from new staff.
I felt very excited trying to help her by first evangelize her about the agile approach and then identify with her a consistent first-step implementation in her real-work. I felt like a ScrumMaster Trainer newbie. I like it ! I have now to convince her to follow a real Certified ScrumMaster course.