Scrum only for IT? Definitely not!

Often, people who are just beginning to be interested in introducing Agile in their organization are wondering if it is dedicated only to IT projects. The answer is NO! Agile is a way of thinking (mindset) about managing complex projects, which may apply to both specific projects and entire organizations. The characteristics of this philosophy are, among others:

• close and partnership cooperation of all parties involved in the implemented project
• iterative (repeated, in the loop) and incremental way of delivering results,
• openness to changes, through flexibility to changing circumstances.

Scrum is a method of organizing the work of a team that works on the development of a given product. The nature or type of product that is produced is very much dependent on the industry and the environment (team) in which it arises. In IT projects, a product is a specific software, eg an application or a system, but it is not always the case. In contrast, an example of a product outside the industry may be a marketing campaign implemented by a team / consultants from a consulting company, preparation, publication and promotion of a research report by a team of scientists or a change of awareness about a topic among beneficiaries of a social project implemented by a non-governmental organization.

An interesting example of using the Agile approach is its use in church organizations by pastor Arline Conan Sutherland. In the report prepared by her entitled “Scrum in Church: Saving the World One Team at a Time” shows how Scrum was implemented in non-profit organizations, thanks to which it was possible to increase productivity, improve the quality of teamwork, encourage effective communication and cooperation, improve the work environment and personal relationships throughout the organization. The author identified Scrum as a valuable change agent.

Another equally inspiring example of using the Agile approach is the history of the Starr family, which was discussed in the lecture by writer Bruce Feiler. David is a programmer, Eleaonor deals with home and children aged 10 – 15 years, one of the children gives tutoring, the second trains a game in lacrosse in the second part of the city, the third has Asperger syndrome and the fourth ADHD. According to Eleaonor, their life is one big chaos. The mornings were the worst, everyone was running, shouting in a hurry to get out of the house and be on time in school, at work or in class. One day, David decided to introduce Agile to his family, which has changed their world 180 degrees since then. Everyone, after waking up, looked at the table, on which there were tasks assigned for each individual. As a result, everyone knew what to do. The situation in the home was normalized thanks to the fact that the team (family) together introduced coherent and transparent ways of organizing their everyday life.

The main benefits mentioned by entities and teams that have decided to apply the Agile approach are:

• flexibility of operations at the operational level,
• greater involvement of project stakeholders than in the various stages of the project, both in terms of planning, implementation and project closure
• more effective implementation of the objectives of the entire project

As you can see, Agile is not limited to a specific type of products, although it is still the most popular in the IT industry. An additional and, what is more, an essential component to achieve the recalled effect is the understanding and adoption of the way of thinking and organizational culture characteristic of the Agile model, referring to the so-called soft areas like trust, openness or partnership. It is worth noting that the role of these elements, due to their hard to measure nature, is often overlooked or marginalized, and they are an important area that allows to build an appropriate foundation within which it will be possible to implement projects in this methodology.

This approach inspired us to create a training project – SCRUMup! We invite you to visit our website www.scrumup.pl.