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How Scrumify Works – 9 Steps from Business Strategy to Project Management with Agile and Scrum

Is Scrumify yet another buzzword or a sustainable concept? The term Scrumify is circulating in the business world and promises to help companies reach their project goals quicker and more efficiently. With teams that organise themselves independently, decisions that are made in real-time and with improved transparency at all levels of the organisation, even complex business projects are set to become easier to digest. How does this work? This is what Dieter Weisshaar, CEO and co-founder of swarmOS, discusses with us:

Dieter, what exactly is behind the term Scrumify?

The term Scrumify originates from software development. The Scrum community used the word to describe the transition from long-term, planned to agile approaches based on Scrum. Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland used the term Scrum, which actually comes from rugby football, for the first time in the 90s in the context of product and software development. In rugby, the Scrum is used to resume the game quickly after a short break. This is the connection to the agile working approach: Realistic and quickly achievable objectives are better than making long-term plans, briefly stopping and checking whether you’re on course, re-adjusting and continuing towards the ultimate goal, which may change as markets and products are changing, too.

Agile approaches are well established in software development. More than 90 percent of development teams rely on Scrum, Extreme Programming, Kanban or hybrid models, which we talked about in our last blog post. What does the situation look like in the non-technical world i.e. the business at large?

The demand for agile approaches is growing rapidly. In fact, until recently Scrum & Co. was just a topic for software geeks. However, business decision-makers have understood that the environment in which their company operates are experiencing incredible dynamics. Digital transformation, lots of new competitors, growing customer expectations and shorter product life cycles are just some megatrends, and I do not know any industry that is exempt from them. We describe this environment with the acronym VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. What does this mean? Project approaches based on long-term planning no longer work. No plan, however elaborate, is able to transcend the short lifespan of reality. This is where agile approaches come in. You work towards short-term results in foreseeable development cycles. You have a goal in mind for the future, but the way to that goal is adjusted continually and aligned according to market changes. Our new white paper provides a detailed description of how companies can implement this.

Can you share some insights?

We have developed an approach based on nine steps. (1) The first step is to clarify the goal of your strategic vision. What do you want to achieve? (2) In the next step, break this goal down into concrete, tangible objectives: Who should achieve what and when? (3) Then select your tool set. This is the technical foundation based on which your strategy, goals and projects will be managed. It is precisely here that most companies have a huge backlog because their tools are outdated. File sharing and email are not suitable for agile working and collaboration in real-time. We recommend the platform by our partner Atlassian, for which we will be presenting exciting add-on solutions from swarmOS at the Atlassian Summit in September.

What happens after the agile tool set has been selected?

Once you have a solid foundation in place, the hard work will begin. (4) It is now necessary to review all projects in the company and if necessary assign them to the overarching goal. Those which are not assigned should be discontinued, rather than wasting time and energy on sideshows. (5) Now you are ready for the Scrumify step. Use your entire agile tool set to help you reach your goal as efficiently as possible. (6) The agile tool set will help you quickly learn and practise new working methods. (7) Keep in mind the risks, your timeline and costs in parallel with the project implementation. (8) Support your teams by removing any hurdles. And last but not least: (9) Keep an eye on the return on investment of every decision. The agile working method is perfectly suited to ROI fanatics. Jeff Sutherland once said that the main advantage of agile principles is that you can deliver twice as much in half the time. What more could you want?

All the information on how to successfully implement agile in business projects in 9 steps can be found in our new white paper Using Agile Principles to Transform your Business Projects – you can download it free of charge here.  If you want to get to know swarmOS, visit us at the Atlassian Summit in San Jose from the 12th to the 14th September 2017. You will find us at booth 235B. We would love to meet you!