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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Oct 8, 2021

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by Chris Pipito, Agile Coach, to talk about Scrum cling-ons and culture shift.


In this episode, Dan and Chris are talking about the aspects that cling to the Scrum framework and really impede organizations’ ability to shift cultures from where they were to a point where there are more Agile stands using the Scrum structure. Dan and Chris dive deep into the roles of Scrum, the struggles faced when trying to achieve a culture shift, the real purpose of sprint reviews, and how to narrow stories (instead of splitting them) among other valuable inputs on the matter.


Key Takeaways

The three roles of Scrum: The Scrum Master, Developers, and the Product Owner.

Product and Portfolio managers do not exist in Scrum.

For anyone who does not fit into these three roles, there is a need to find a place in the organization where the employee’s skills can be applied and are valued.

What is really a culture shift?

The team sizing is an important matter as well as not having the team departmentalized bureaucracy.

The necessary organization needs to be in place for different departments to work together.

In most organizations, people don’t even read the Scrum Guide and they work with people who don’t have the proper certifications either, then, as a result, the entire experience with Scrum and Agile is not that satisfactory.

The cling-ons make it easier not to change behaviors.

Is the team clear about the reasons why they are building something? What is the goal that the team is looking to achieve? Standardized forms sometimes do not contribute to the overall goal of a project.

Are you talking directly with your customer?

What is really the point of the Sprint Review? To inspect the increment and respond to the new information.

Teams who work on properly-sized stories check on the customer to make sure they are on the right path; this is much better than assuming they are right.

Narrowing stories is different than splitting them; you need to keep the overall objective you are trying to achieve as well as all the different things that you will be able to do, then narrowing that to a “happy path” to build it, without missing the core functionality of what you are trying to reach.

What are the challenges to be confronted in order to make a shift towards Agility in an organization?

Regarding departments, the teams’ sizes need to be appropriate.

Make sure you look for the skill sets that are needed in each team before just assigning one.

Assess the resource allocation fallacy: It’s not about “getting the maximum utilization out of the fungible resources”

Tip to try in bigger organizations: One group could be separated and treated as if it is an entire organization and show them the results of what is coming up. Sometimes this might mean keeping “management” out.


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge

Mob Programming: A Whole Team Approach, by Woodie Zuill and Kevin Meadows


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