Your Agile journey is important and can sometimes be intricate to maneuver. What do you need to know about Scrum teams to best work with them? What are the differences between Scrum Masters and project managers? How does the Agile mindset differ from Waterfall methodology? Here are some essential details to help you navigate the waters of Agile.

  • The TEAM, not the project – The fundamental building block of Scrum is the TEAM, not the project. Scrum teams are cross-functional, dedicated and long-lived. We bring the projects to the team, not the other way around. Scrum Masters focus on creating effective high-performing teams that can adapt to change and deliver value continuously rather than resource balancing and buffering Gantt charts, aka playing “human Tetris.”

 

  • Agile teams are self-organizing – Project managers are expected to lead the charge and solve the problem themselves, removing responsibility and accountability from the team. Scrum Masters promote team ownership and coach the team to solve problems…

Individual ownership = better solutions & increased accountability

 

  • Short-term vs. long-term focus – Project management by its very nature is focused on short-term solutions. The focus is kept until the end of the project, then the people move on to other projects. A built-in incentive is created to be efficient and get to the end of the project. However, the organization must deal with the product in the long term. After the initial project ends and the customer sees it for the first time, then can they tell us what they really want. Scrum Masters concentrate on building a team that is focused on effectiveness so that we can continue to adapt to change in the long run. Effectiveness over efficiency is a mantra of the Scrum Master.

 

  • Fit for purpose – Waterfall methodology works great for “simple” problems, such as ones where we can lock in scope, identify initial solutions, develop a plan and efficiently execute projects. This works well for building roads, bridges and houses. However, this rarely ever works in IT, software and product development. The ever-changing environment of the tech world doesn’t allow rigid “big upfront planning.” Scrum Masters help teams continuously improve by frequently inspecting and learning adaptive long-term goals.

 

  • There is no such thing as an “Agile project manager” – Project managers are necessary coordinators in Waterfall given its compartmentalized nature and focus on efficient execution of locally optimized silos and components. The industrial age need for a hero to provide the perception of control over uneducated automatons is outdated. This function is completely eliminated in Scrum, as we are dealing with high-functioning adult professional knowledge-workers who focus on customer value.

We hope that your Agile journey is smooth sailing!