Getting Started with Agile and Scrum
The Backstory: My Accidental Plunge into the Agile/Scrum World
My introduction to the Agile development philosophy and Scrum methodology approach to software development occurred back in 2013. As an ERP application analyst/developer for a large healthcare organization, I was a member of a 12-person team responsible for developing and supporting mission-critical enterprise software applications.
I recall the day our manager announced that we would begin to have 15 minute daily stand-up meetings, where each of us would report our current status, what we were going to do next, and then identify any issues that we were experiencing with our development projects.
As the team had just begun working with a new software development partner, I figured our manager had picked up a best practice, and decided to adopt it for the benefit our our team. What I didn't realize at the time was that the best practice was Agile/Scrum.
While some organizations provide orientation and training for employees in advance to implementation of a significant change in an approach to doing business, many organizations plunge right in and learn along the way.
My beginnings as an Agile/Scrum practitioner came by way of a sudden change in how our team shared information about their respective projects, and how supervisors and managers were tasked to resolve issues that were identified by team members. As each of us had to report our planned next actions, there was a sense of urgency after the daily stand-up was over, to get cooking toward making progress on what we reported.
The results of this sudden change were significant, and the curious among our team began to dig further into the nature of this 'best practice'. Tracing the source of this change to our new partner, we learned that this practice was a part of Scrum methodology, which was associated with something called the Agile manifesto. I began to read-up on Agile and Scrum in my spare time and enrolled in an online course on Scrum.
The Scrum of Scrums: Agile for Business Project Management
A career change transitioned me to the role of project manager for a large entertainment concern. Attending two early morning meetings each day with 10-20 project managers seated in one of three 'War rooms', each of us would report the status of our respective projects, our next actions, along with any impediments that we were experiencing.
The project director or lead project manager would provide feedback as each of us completed our 'stand-up' report. In cases where we were blocked by an issue, directors and other project managers would take action items to unblock the issue and/or provide us with guidance in how to move forward.
As I continued my study of Scrum methodology, I came to realize that I was participating in daily Scrum of Scrum meetings. Meeting participants consisted of Agile project managers, Scrum Masters and Product Owners, all who had been educated and trained in both the Agile philosophy and Scrum methodology as applied to project management and product development.
Transitioning to a Deliberate Study of Agile Philosophy and Scrum Methodology
In completing my contract role as an Agile/Scrum project manager, I relocated from Denver, Colorado to Tampa Bay, Florida. The Tampa Bay-St.Petersburg-Clearwater area was experiencing significant economic growth and becoming a hotbed for technology and innovation, and I wanted to be a part of that innovative change.
In discussing how I could continue my practical study of Agile and Scrum with Agile/Scrum Coach Adam Ulery, he suggested I join the Tampa Bay Agile (TBA) Scrum Masters Guild. After three months of active participation in a variety of monthly TBA events, I was sold on the benefits of Agile and Scrum, along with the other Agile methodologies that have evolved over Agile's ten year history.
Beginning Your Journey as a Deliberate Agile Practitioner
Recently, I found Mauricio Rubio's Agile Crash Course: Key Tools to Learn Agile Development on Skillshare. This course can be a good starting point for those interested in learning more about Agile.
There are other excellent resources available that will feed the appetite of the Agile beginner or advanced practitioner. I've included a partial list of best-known resources below. Please share any additional resources that you have found to be beneficial.
Enjoy your Agile journey!
Resources for the Study of Agile Best Practices
Agile Crash Course: Key Tools to Learn Agile Development. (Mauricio Rubio, M.B.A., Skillshare)