Agile Beyond IT at Scrum Inc.
In the world of business, Agility is often the difference between success and stagnation. For Scrum Inc., Agility isn't just a buzzword—it's a way of life. In our dynamic organization, every department practices Scrum as a guiding principle in their daily work – even teams outside of software. The enterprise-wide application demonstrates the value of scrum and the power of agility.
In this blog, we'll take you behind the scenes and show you how Scrum Inc.'s departments leverage the Scrum framework for their day-to-day operations and dive into the impact of Scrum in each function, explore the challenges we've faced and overcome, and share insights that can resonate with professionals in similar industries.
Whether you're a Scrum enthusiast or simply curious about how Scrum works outside of software and in real-world operations, read on to see just how Scrum Inc.'s business functions thrive by embracing Agility to get work to done.
Scrum in Finance
Scrum has reshaped our approach to quarterly game planning and investment assessments. Instead of working in isolation, we're now more integrated with the broader organizational objectives. This interconnectedness ensures our financial decisions are agile and in tune with the real-time needs of the organization.
Embracing Scrum is about more than just changing processes; it's about adopting a broader perspective. For the finance team, it offers a chance to be more aligned with organizational strategy, ensuring decisions are agile and relevant. It's a transformative journey, but one that brings enhanced collaboration and strategic depth.
With Scrum, finance becomes a proactive partner in the organization. It allows us to align our objectives more closely with the company's goals, fostering better collaboration and ensuring our decisions are timely and impactful. In essence, Scrum elevates the role of finance, making it a dynamic and integrated part of the organization's success.
- Ryan Gledhill, Vice President of Finance and Accounting
Key Takeaway: Embracing Scrum in finance elevates its role, fostering better collaboration, aligning objectives with organizational goals, and ensuring timely and impactful decisions— Finance becomes a proactive partner in the organization's success.
Scrum in HR
Scrum is an effective approach to dealing with all types of complex and uncertain problems. By adopting Scrum, HR teams can become more responsive, and customer-centric and increase its value contribution to the success of the organization and its people.
HR Scrum teams align their goals and priorities with the organization's strategic vision and employees' needs. By using Scrum artifacts such as the product backlog, HR teams can define and prioritize initiatives and deliverables and make them visible to all stakeholders and employees. For example, including HR’s stakeholders in sprint reviews, and attending other teams’ sprint reviews drives faster feedback making HR more responsive to the needs of the organization.
At Scrum Inc. we on-board employees with a digital on-demand training and invite them to attend our live classes to understand what an agile mindset means, why it matters and how to practice Scrum.
- Brian Hackerson, Vice President of People Operations
Key Takeaway: Scrum empowers HR teams to become more responsive to management and key customers; the employees. By using Scrum artifacts and practices, HR teams are more customer centric and deliver more value.
Scrum in Marketing
The Scrum framework is how we organize our day-to-day work as a cross-organizational Marketing team. It promotes collaboration and transparency, allowing us to work closely with various teams/stake-holders within the organization. This collaborative approach ensures that our strategies align with the broader organizational goals, leverage momentum from one another and are consistent. Additionally, Scrum's iterative and incremental approach helps us adapt to changes quickly and make data-driven decisions, which is crucial in the dynamic world of marketing.
There were challenges at first to adapting traditional marketing practices to the Scrum framework. It required a willingness to embrace change! However, with the guidance of our Scrum team coach, continuous training, our team successfully found our way to applying Scrum. We now enjoy the benefits of improved alignment, and faster decision-making.
Scrum empowers us to be more impactful and efficient in our day-to-day work. With regular Scrum events like Sprint Planning and Review, we can adapt our strategies based on real-time market feedback, making our initiatives more responsive and customer-centric. It also encourages continuous improvement, which enables us to achieve better results with less friction and uncertainty.
- Melanie Suarez, Brand & GTM Marketing Manager
Key Takeaway: Scrum significantly enhances the cross-organizational Marketing team's collaboration, transparency, and adaptability, ensuring alignment with broader goals and faster response to market changes. Scrum empowers the team to be more impactful, customer-centric, and results-driven, fostering continuous improvement and efficiency.
Scrum in Software
Mastering a skill requires the courage to begin, and the willingness to either persevere or pivot through failures. As the saying goes, “Every master has failed more than a beginner has tried.” It’s not just about failing fast though; it’s about learning even faster. This framework promotes a culture of inspection and adaptation, fostering an environment where we’re unafraid to question, iterate, and improve. Whether you’re deep-diving into a new programming language or architecting a complex system, Scrum facilitates a mindset that makes embracing change and learning from it a natural part of the process. This supportive atmosphere enables us to grow as professionals, making us more effective in an ever-changing tech landscape.
What makes Scrum particularly effective is how it aligns with the day-to-day realities of software engineering. We are no longer coding in isolation; we are constantly thinking about how we will demo our work and what kind of feedback we need to make it better. This isn’t just about meeting deadlines or hitting KPIs; it’s about ensuring the work we are doing has the most impact and creates value for our customers. This mindset of stakeholder engagement and value maximization brings alignment to our organization, affirming the principles we teach.
While Scrum offers many advantages, it’s not without its challenges. One key tension often arises around the need for project forecasting. To bridge this gap, we employ a layered approach to estimation. First, we dissect a single component of the work, drilling down to a detailed backlog and arriving at a granular point estimate. This serves as a benchmark for relative size estimation across other major components, offering us a rough total project size. We then apply our team’s ‘yesterday’s weather’—the velocity from the last three sprints—to project how many sprints it would take to complete the estimated points. This provides a realistic yet flexible forecast, which we continually refine as we break down the backlog further and gather more data.
- Reiner Leal, Senior Software Engineer
Key Takeaway: Scrum promotes a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, making it a natural fit for professionals in ever-changing tech environments. It aligns with the realities of software engineering, emphasizing stakeholder engagement and value maximization, even while addressing challenges like project forecasting.
"Enterprise Agility is just that, applying the power of Agility to the entire organization. All of the teams, at every level, across value streams or functions, must be able to respond to change over “following a plan.” Enterprise agility aligns all divisions and departments to the enterprise’s goals so that they are able to collectively pivot to truly respond to marketplace demands.
Scrum@Scale is a powerful tool to solve complex problems and it is an excellent framework to keep teams across the organization aligned and focused. With alignment and leadership support, companies can thrive and achieve more than ever before." - JJ Sutherland, Scrum Inc. CEO