Is your organization following Scrum or Mini Waterfall within Scrum Framework ?
Nowadays, every enterprise is in the horse race to adopt agile methodology asap after forsaking waterfall. Management in the organization believes that if we just break a long cycle of iteration into small innumerable iterations, agility is achieved. Therefore according to managers with old mindset, to establish agility within an enterprise is very simple & could be achieved just in a fraction of second. I believe those organisations are living in an illusion of agility and in fact are still marching with the old mindset of Waterfall but in small steps, I call it, a Mini Waterfall approach. So for some time, the organization might see an upsurge in Volume production but in long run, would see a drastic step fall.
Thus the question arises, Does your organization have any symptoms of Mini Waterfall ? The symptoms of Mini Waterfall are as follows
Waterfall 1) An organization believes in delivering Volume over Value at a fast pace
Waterfall 2) An organization believes that agility is all about delivering & pushing more & more to the market within a stipulated time at low cost
Waterfall 3) An organization believes that adopting agile makes the project less complex
Waterfall 4) An organisation believes that an Increment is Valuable when it is approved by the top Leaders and Stakeholders
Waterfall 5) Managers always pose their belief on the team
Waterfall 6) Managers never trust their team and therefore command & control them
Waterfall 7) Managers believe that criticizing, pin pointing & pressurizing the team swifts the pace of work
Waterfall 8) Managers take all the credit when the released Increment is successful but when it fails, managers make the team accountable
Waterfall 9) Managers believe that the job of the team is just to complete the given task on time
Waterfall 10) Managers believe that each member of the team should do their own work and after finishing their part they should pass it to their peers rather than cross-functioning & self-managing which ultimately wastes time
Waterfall 11) Managers believe that impediments raised by the team is just an excuse for not completing the given task on time
Waterfall 12) Managers believe that taking feedback from customers, stakeholders and the team is useless
Waterfall 13) Managers believe that appreciating the team is just a courtesy so not required as it has nothing to do with the productivity of the team
Waterfall 14) Managers believe that they are at the top level & the team working for them is at a lower level of the organization
Waterfall 15) Managers believe that only they can make the right decision to solve any kind of Problem
Waterfall 16) Managers perceive that their ideas are the best and thus they pass those ideas as a command to the team
Waterfall 17) Managers organize formal meetings as well as believe that meetings are only for managers to make decisions and the team should just sincerely follow those decisions
Waterfall 18) Managers still believe that inviting the team in meetings is just a waste of time and cost
Waterfall 19) Managers shield the team against any challenges by offering them a ready-made solution thus depriving the team to think together to make a collective decision in order to invent possible solutions to solve problem
Waterfall 20) Top Management still believes that managers should only focus on managing the team, managers should not act as a coach, trainer & facilitator
Waterfall 21) The giant management wall acts as a big barrier between the team and the customer therefore the team fails to know, who the customer is? & what are the customer’s actual problems & requirements ?
Waterfall 22) Managers always focus on “Can we develop a Product” & once the product is developed, they just push it to the market
Waterfall 23) Managers believe that experimentation is made for research centers not for the organization
Waterfall 24) Managers believe that they need to convince the stakeholders and the end users to agree and accept the delivered Increment rather than developing & delivering the increment based on shared understanding of user requirements and stakeholders’ inputs
Without properly understanding customers’ problem or requirement, many Organizations practice Scrum Ceremonies in small Sprints to just deliver maximum features in minimum possible time with an expectation that out of innumerable released (Pushed) features to the market, some features would definitely be used (Pulled) by the end user. Hence the question which hovers over our head is that are these organizations practicing Mini Waterfall within Scrum Framework.
Indeed Scrum Guide 2020 says that customer’s requirements should be the foundation stone for any Increment (feature) development and an Increment (feature) is only Valuable when it is simple and used by the customer.
Therefore the primary objective of Scrum is to deliver Value over Volume and of course Velocity to deliver Value is secondary as Velocity may improve your Output (Volume) but may not the Outcome (Value). Therefore Velocity may not be considered as a measure of Value.
Therefore the green traffic light which signals that an organization is following Agile are as follows
Agile 1) An organization’s primary focus is on Value
Agile 2 ) An organisation believes that an Increment is only Valuable when it is pulled & used by the end users
Agile 3) An Organization inculcates the culture of Collaboration over Command & Control
Agile 4) In an organization, the answer of “Who makes the decision” goes to the team
Agile 5) The management coaches & trains the team to focus on developing & delivering Value and to embody all needed competencies to chase challenges that may pop up because of complexity & uncertainty
Agile 6) All possible activities are done to bring the team close to the Customer so that the team understands the customers’ requirements in a crystal clear way
Agile 7) Leaders & Managers understand the importance of self-managing & cross-functioning. Hence, the management empowers the team to use their collective intelligence to make their own decision in order to turn ideas into Value
Agile 8) Frequent, informal meetings are organized with the team and the feedback of the team is often taken into consideration
Agile 9) Managers and the team observe and closely engage with the end users to understand the customers’ core problem & requirements and then collectively decide the possible Value which could be created based on those intricate meticulous customer observation
Agile 10) Managers actively collaborate with the team and share the customers’ core problem & requirements in order to discuss “Should we develop the Increment” by keeping the Business Value in mind” & if yes, How? So that the Increment once released be actively pulled by the end user rather than being pushed.
Agile 11) Managers always welcome & pull the impediments of the team and clear it asap to help the team complete their work to deliver Value
Agile 12) Managers facilitate the team to upgrade their knowledge by organizing the required technical & soft-skill training whenever demanded by the team
Can we make it (Push) = Volume (Output) which can be developed & delivered by the efficient work of the Scrum Team
Should we make it (Pull) = Value (Outcome) which can be developed & delivered by the effective work of the Scrum Team
Let’s gel with the concept with an enchanting example, imagine that there are 2 Pizza stalls where the 1st Pizza stall named Mini Waterfall Pizza Stall at Chicago city gets an order of 1000 pizzas from a Chicago Music Concert Company (Stakeholder) for their customers where the team ignores the end users and just takes the feedback of the stakeholders. Finally analyses together & insinuates the taste which customers would like and thus make & offer (push) innumerable pizzas (output) to customers based on customer perception but when most of the customers tasted it; they didn’t like the taste of pizza hence the pile of pizzas becomes a waste (Lean).
While the 2nd Pizza Stall named Agile Pizza Stall at New York City gets an order of 1000 pizzas from a New York fashion event company (Stakeholder) where the team first observes and engages with the customers by asking some open questions like which short of mouth-watering pizza did they have last time & what ingredients made those pizzas amazing. Thus after deeply understanding the customers’ expectation and also considering the stakeholders inputs, they take (pull) order & prepare pizza accordingly in order to offer the hot ordered pizza (outcome) on the customers’ plate which fits the customers’ expectation and meanwhile it also unlocks an opportunity to pull customers’ feedback to make pizza more palatable further.
Hence to keep the customers happy in order to retain customers and attract new set of customers, we need to make tasty pizzas (Value) over a pile of pizzas (Volume).
Agree with you Jayanto