New Software Application and Scrum?

Last post 09:34 pm January 22, 2014
by Sandeep Kamat
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06:33 pm January 16, 2014

I'm wondering if anyone has used Scrum to rollout a new software application that has come into their business.

This new software is a 3rd party app. it will need LOTS of setup, configuration, and tweaking before it can be rolled out to the masses.

I think Scrum would fit nice into a project like this...just wondering is anyone has used Scrum for a project like this?

-Tom

01:23 am January 17, 2014

The configuration and rollout of pre-built software is one of the many responsibilities of IT Operations. Sometimes frameworks like ITIL are used for this. When transitioning to an agile way of working a Kanban system is perhaps the most popular choice.

Scrum can certainly be used though. It all really depends on whether or not you can secure clear product ownership. For many areas within Ops - such as network support - this is very difficult, and the usual approach is for a helpdesk to triage tickets into a second level support Kanban. The rollout of software often has to be treated in a similar way because of the increased support calls that result from this journey into service.

However, the configuration of a software product is one of those areas that can be expected to show clear product ownership, and it is one in which Scrum should be applied. In your case, there will presumably be a stakeholder who knows what the configuration should be and who can articulate those requirements into clear Sprint Goals and potential releases. Find that Product Owner and you have found your way to start applying Scrum.

09:34 pm January 22, 2014

Scrum can certainly be used for rolling out packaged software. You will need multiple scrum teams depending on the size of the project. Obvious things that come to mind are business process, integrations, data migration etc. For business process will probably need a separate scrum team to map out the current business processes / people / tools as well as the final business processes ( as defined by the new application) . This will probably be more critical if the package software forms the core business application for your company.

You might also ask the vendor if they have used agile to roll out the packaged software to their other customers. In that case they should have a fair bit of IP built up around epics, user stories, estimates etc. This can form your starting point instead of having to start from scratch. As Ian has pointed out you will need to a product owner(s) / subject matter expert / business analyst from the customer side as well some product experts from the software vendors professional services team.

Once the configuration / development is complete you will need to use the IT frameworks like ITIL that Ian mentions for operations to actually roll out the application. Of course some of it like capacity planning, This will vary depending upon weather the application is a cloud based or on premise application