The next choice to make is whether or not to publicize your transition. One option is to make a public display of agility. In this approach, the team or organization announces with great fanfare that it is adopting Scrum. Depending on the scope and significance of the transition, the announcements may range from lunchroom comments to other teams all the way up to press releases in the national media. No matter the extent of the publicity, with a public display of agility, teams make an effort to inform others that something agile is going on.

In contrast to a public display of agility is a stealth transition. In a stealth transition, only the team members know they are using Scrum until the project is complete. I found a group doing a stealth transition at one of my clients. On my first visit to this client, I spoke with Sarah, the director of the company's project management office. She told me that the transition to Scrum was well underway. It had begun shortly after I delivered a two-day training class to many developers in its headquarters office. Sarah shared with me a well-thought-out plan she had outlined to introduce Scrum across her company's more than 200 developers.

Sarah's plan showed four initial pilot teams, each of which had been selected for specific reasons. One team was chosen for its willingness to relocate into a shared team space very different from the dedicated cubicle environment in use at the time. Another team was chosen because it would be one of the first to use a new technology in which the company was making a significant investment. The other two teams were selected to be part of the pilot for equally good reasons. Sarah's plan was great because it would enable teams to maximize the learning right from the outset of this transition effort.

I left Sarah's office planning to visit each of the four teams so that I could get their perspective on how things were going. Strangely, though, I didn't find four teams—I found five. When I figured out which of the five wasn't one that Sarah had told me about, I went back and talked with that team some more. I discovered that it was not an officially sanctioned part of Sarah's pilot effort. The members had noticed the goings on of one of the official teams, liked what they had seen, and decided to try it themselves. They had a vague sense that they probably shouldn't be doing what they were doing and had placed their wall-hanging task board and burn down chart well inside a labyrinth of cube walls. I had only stumbled across it because I was unfamiliar with the building and had gotten lost looking for one of the official teams.

This team was doing a stealth transition. Members were using Scrum but were keeping their activities to themselves until the project was complete. There are varying degrees of stealth—some teams may actively try to keep what they're doing quiet while others merely don't publicize the change.

Reasons to Favor a Public Display of Agility
There are many good reasons for making a public display of agility. Among them are the following:

• Everyone knows you're doing it, so you're more likely to stick with it. Standard advice to anyone attempting to adopt or abandon a habit is to solicit the help of your friends. Whether you are starting a diet, quitting smoking, or starting an exercise program, telling your friends about the change is a good idea. You'll likely feel an unspoken pressure to succeed because you've announced your intentions; your friends will also be able to support and encourage you. The same is true when transitioning to Scrum.

• A public display establishes a vision to work toward. Publicly proclaiming your intent provides an opportunity to create thought and discussion around the goal. With the intent out in the open, team members will feel comfortable talking about the transition with those outside the team. They'll be able to share successes and failures. Those interested in the transition (perhaps wishing they could be part of it) will offer advice; those opposed will offer resistance. A public display can provide the opportunity to engage both groups, providing the opportunities to encourage the former group and to overcome the objections of the latter.

• Operating in the open is a firm statement of your commitment. A stealth transition can be perceived as a bit wishy-washy. It is as though the team or organization is saying, "We believe in this but we want to hedge our bets by having the chance to back away if it doesn't go well." There's no backing away from a public display. It makes a powerful statement that not only does the organization plan to initiate the transition, but it also plans to be successful at it.

• You can solicit organizational support. If you're trying to keep the use of Scrum quiet, you'll have limited ability to reach outside the team for assistance. There are many obstacles you may encounter as you transition; before abandoning the assistance of possible allies in overcoming them, make sure the advantages to stealth are compelling.

• Stating your goal and then achieving it sends a powerful message. Announcing at the end of a project that the project was successful because it secretly used Scrum is much less compelling to skeptics than telling them up front. Baseball player Babe Ruth's most famous home run was the 1932 "called shot." With a count of two balls and two strikes, Ruth pointed to the centerfield fence and hit the next pitch into the centerfield bleachers. Saying what you'll do and then doing it is more powerful than announcing your goal after it has been achieved.

Reasons to Favor a Stealth Transition
Stealth transitions may seem a bit sneaky, but there are actually quite a few advantages to keeping a low profile. These include

• You have a chance to make progress before resistance starts. A public announcement about the transition will bring resistors and naysayers out of the woodwork. Their best chance to avert the change is before it gains much momentum, and so they will argue strongly against it after it is announced.

• A stealth transition keeps additional pressure off. If adopting Scrum is a high-publicity affair with proclamations in company newsletters, the intranet, and so on, the team can feel a great deal of pressure to succeed—both at the project and at the transition. For teams that thrive under pressure this might be good. However, when the project is finished you won't know if it had been successful because of Scrum or because of the additional pressure the team was under. Bob Schatz and Ibrahim Abdelshafi did not announce a grand change of process when they led Primavera's successful transition to Scrum.

One of the first things we didn't do was start telling everyone that we planned to use a new process. We didn't want to make people apprehensive, and we wanted to give them time to adjust to the changes. Plus, when you run around announcing your new process and all its benefits, you can quickly set unrealistic expectations. (2005, 37-38)

• No one knows about it until you tell them. When Operating in stealth mode, you can wait until the project is successful before indicating that the project was run in a different way. Or, if the project fails, you can adjust how you are doing Scrum, try again, and only tell people after you've figured out the nuances of doing so that lead to success in your environment.

• If no one knows you're doing Scrum, no one can tell you to stop. If you start so quietly that no one but the individuals involved know, there's no one who can tell you to stop. I've seen individual teams choose the stealth approach under the premise of it being easier to ask forgiveness than permission. I've also seen vice presidents of development or project management offices choose to introduce Scrum in stealth mode so that they could prove tangible benefits before having to debate the merits of Scrum with groups they knew would resist.

Choosing Between a Public Display and Stealth
I find that organizations willing to make a public display of agility are more likely to enjoy a successful transition than those that try a stealth approach. Always choose to make the transition publicly known when you are confident in Scrum and committed to the transition. Similarly, strongly consider a public display if you expect there will be stiff resistance to the change but want to overcome it quickly.

In contrast, choose a quieter approach when you want to experiment either with all of Scrum or just parts of it. For example, maybe you introduce daily meetings—don't call them daily scrums in this case—and see how that works. Then introduce the idea of working in timeboxed sprints. If these go well, maybe start calling what you're doing agile or Scrum and proceed from there. Additionally, always choose a stealth approach when it is your only option. If you don't have the political clout to say, "We're doing Scrum," or if doing so will create too much resistance, start quietly.

Source of Information : Pearson - Succeeding with Agile Software Development Using Scrum 2010


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