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HOW TO SURVIVE THE ZOMBIE SCRUM
APOCALYPSE
LAST CONFERENCE 2019
MIA HORRIGAN - LEAD PARTNER AGILE PROGRAM DELIVERY
ZEN EX MACHINA
@MIAHORRI
ZENEXMACHINA.COM/BLOG
Chhhhhaaaaannnnngeeee …
At first sight
Zombie Scrum
seems to be
normal Scrum
But it lacks a
beating heart.
The Scrum teams
do all the Scrum
events but a
potential
releasable
increment is rarely
the result of a
Sprint
WHAT IS ZOMBIE SCRUM?
THE RISE OF ZOMBIE SCRUM
Impending apocalypse or misunderstood hipster movement?
2003
2007
2011
2015
2019
KNOWING WHAT THE EARLY SIGNS AND
SYMPTOMS of ZOMBIE SCRUM MIGHT HELP
PREVENT A FUTHER OUTBREAK
Symptom #1
No beating heart (of working product)
HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNS……
It appears to be Scrum on the surface. Except there’s no
beating heart
Demo is not
clickable and just
ppt screen shots
Going thru the scrum
motions
Hardly any
working software
(or none at all)
There is lack of discussion
in the sprint review and
just a tick a box
Completed functionality is a
“nice to have” and can be
completed in the next Sprint
Tech focus and traditional
functional silos intact
(testing done by QA, deploy
done by operations)
Very unambitious
definition of what
‘done’ means
Symptom #2
No (desire for) contact with the
outside world
HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNS……
Different from movie zombies who seek out humans, Scrum
zombies prefer to hide away and keep to familiar surroundings
Old fashioned silo
thinking
Neither care what’s
upstream nor what’s
downstream in the value
chain
Product failed to
meet customer
expectations
“QA should have caught
that before deployment!”
“I’m only here to
code!”
Just a cog in the wheel, unable
and unwilling to change
anything to have a real impact
Avoid taking
responsibility
Symptom #3
No emotional response to success or
failure
HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNS……
Like a lifeless body, Zombie Scrum teams show no response to
a failed or successful Sprint
No direction, No
alignment
Items from backlog get
carried over into next
sprint without question
Low team morale
Items in backlog not tied to any
sprint goal so completed
“whenever” team feels like it
Empty stares of numb
resignation
“There’s always a next sprint as
iterations are artificial anyway!”
Aimless trudge through a
barren wasteland of
development
Symptom #4
No drive to improve
HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNS……
Don’t have any intention to improve their situation.
Actually nobody cares about this team. The stakeholders have
forgotten the existence of this team long time ago.
No joy and no drive
for improvement
Lifeless procession going
through the motions of
scrum
Yes there are sprints
but results are limited
Scrum Master not
present or focused on
helping team grow
Teams highly unstable
Team members get loaned out
to other teams in need of their
specialist skills
Product owner hardly
ever present during sprint
review or planning
Boring retros and
lots of complaining
(moaning)
Tell a story of a time when
you witnessed Zombie Scrum
symptoms! What happened?
CAUSES OF ZOMBIE SCRUM
Org
FORMAL STRUCTURE
CEO
Plan Build Test & Run
Program
Management
Business
Unit 1
Business
Unit 2
Test
Team
Deploy
Team
Dev
Team 2
Dev
Team 1
Be agile!
CIO
Agile in name only
– all other formal
structures remain
in place
“its just something
the dev teams do”
“Water Scrum Fall”
“Wagile”
INFORMAL STRUCTURE
Cross functional,
multidisciplinary
and self
organising
Have all the skills
to deliver a “done”
increment into
production each
iteration
Development
Test
UI/UX
Marketing
PO
Customers
ORGANISATIONAL AGILITY
Evolve into a
flexible network
structure
Remove
cumbersome org
structures and
move to a
customer
orientated team
based approach
that creates value
end to end
TRADITIONAL ORGANISATIONS
EXECUTIVE
MANAGEMENT
CAPABILITIES/
FUNCTIONAL GROUPS
AGILE ORGANISATIONS
DELIVERY
END-TO-END
SERVANT
LEADERSHIP
COLLABORATION
COORDINATION
“
A framework within which people can
address complex adaptive problems,
while productively and creatively
delivering products of highest possible
value
- The Scrum Guide
SCRUM (n) :
“
AGILE VALUE STREAM VISUALISATION
AGILETRADITIONAL
Market
Company
Customer
Scrum team
Scrum team
Scrum team
Market
Company
Customer
Dev
Dev
Test QA CABSales PM Lead
Div
Mgr
Dev
CEO
RTE
corr(lengthfeedbackloop,zombiefication)=0.8
1. Where does your organisation stand in embracing Zombie Scrum?
2. Pair up. Discuss the results of the self-assessment. Do you have similar low or
high scores?
ACTIVITY: ASSESSING ZOMBIEFICATION
Close the curtains turn off the
lights
Component teams
Scrum events optional
Sprint goal – deliver PBIs
Optimise utilisation
Command and control
management
Transparency and visibility
End to end integration
Feature teams
Scrum roles, artefacts and
events form basis of practice
Sprint Goal – outcome based
Servant Leadership
2 31 54 6
2 31 54 6
2 31 54 6
2 31 54 6
2 31 54 6
2 31 54 6
Optimise value delivered
CAUSES OF ZOMBIE SCRUM
Adopting superficial
trappings of agile
Renaming meetings
“stand ups’ and
management reviews as
“retrospectives”
Team have no true
autonomy, it’s an illusion
Agile as hype - a method
or set of tools
Imitate technical
practices without
changing the main things
– mindset, leadership
style and culture
CAUSE #1: A BIT TOO HOME GROWN OR “CARGO CULT SCRUM”
No real understanding of
value and transparency
why its important
No sprint goals tie into a
goal orientated roadmap
Without goals there is no
urgency, no purpose, no
motivation
A smartly prioritised
backlog could lead to a
huge payoff and reduce
cost of delay
CAUSE #2: NO URGENCY
Systemic mismatch with
agile values
Project mindset – only final
version delivers value
Scrum is a process that
must be followed
Working software is a “nice
to have”
Individuals responsible and
rewarded for effort
No customer focus – they
don’t know what they want
anyway
CAUSE #3: COMPETING VALUES
Only adopt part of the
framework as doing Scrum
was too difficult
Extending the sprint a
couple of days to get the
work done
Cancelling sprint review
because there’s nothing to
demonstrate
Cancelling sprint retros
because we don’t need it
“We use post it notes and
do stand ups” therefore we
are agile
CAUSE #4: SCRUM CHERRY PICKING
Difficulty with contracts is
that it’s all about trust
Customer wants guarantees
around budget, time, quality
and scope
Change control process is
lacking
Development team starts
but just builds what was
asked for
Truly value-driven
organisation embrace
value-driven contracts built
on transparency and trust
Collaboration over Contract
Negotiation
CAUSE #5: CONTRACTS IMPLYING “WE DON’T TRUST YOU”
Changing people’s
behaviour is not about
changing people, but
changing the context
which they are in: the smell
of the place
Strategy, organisation,
process, infrastructure,
policy etc. can leads to
“smells” viz. constraint,
compliance, control and
contract
“revitalize” people as
opposed to “changing”
people by creating a right
“context” around them
viz. stretch, discipline,
support and trust
CAUSE #6: THE SMELL OF THE PLACE (Professor Sumantra Ghosha)
TODAY WE FIGHT BACK……
HOW TO TREAT ZOMBIE SCRUM
What is your boldest yet actionable
idea for fighting Zombie Scrum as
an individual or as a community?
• Talk about the situation
• Identify potential causes and solutions
• Talk about purposes of agile and
underlying values
• Focus on what they can change rather
than what they can’t
Treatment #1
Become a Zombie
Whisperer
Agile is a mindset.
Encompasses
values, principles,
and behaviours.
It’s a contemporary
way of working for
everyone –
executives, leaders
and teams.
AGILE MINDSET – DOING AGILE AND BEING AGILE
LEFT RIGHT
LOGIC
STRUCTURE
SOCIAL
EMOTIONAL
ACTIONS
• Demonstrate agility by
enacting it yourself
• Inspect/adapt (empiricism)
• Manage the system of work,
not its people
• Optimise flow of work
• Alignment, cadence and
synchronisation
• Economic and value
prioritisation
FRAMEWORKS
• Lean and Kanban
• Scrum
• XP
• SAFe
• Nexus
• Scrum @ Scale
• LeSS
VALUES
• Individuals and interactions
• Collaboration
• Working solutions
• Responding to change
ETHICS
• Psychological safety
• Self-organisation
• Respect for people
PRINCIPLES
• Prioritise by value
• Systems thinking
• Transparency
• Decentralised decision-making
• Learning environment
• Feedback loops
• Agile as a “way of working”
• Team work
• Simplicity
AGILE
MANIFESTO
AGILE
PRACTICES
Agile Mindset
© Zen Ex Machina (2019)
• Long-term detailed plans
• Assign and control the work
• Maximize capacity and effort
• Keep all on schedule
• Driven by meetings and reports
• Intervene to fix all problems
• Provide external motivators ($, job title)
40
A Mindset and Behavioral Shift for Management
• Goals, vision, direction
• Foster the environment
• Help remove impediments
• Attend Sprint Reviews
• Share incremental feedback
• Manage for value
• Autonomy, mastery, purpose
PREDICTIVE MANAGEMENT EMPIRICAL MANAGEMENT
Are you going to be impacted by the change, or are
you going to help lead the change?
• Introduce people into the team that
can show and explain how it works
and communicate the right values
• Bring in experienced agile coaches to
help teams and management
• Do a Scrum-safari
Treatment #2
Introduce Healthy
Scrum into the
population
Take team and
management on a
Scrum-safari to
other companies
and show how
Scrum works there
Look outside your
own industry
FIND OUT OTHER ZOMBIE SCRUM SURVIVORS
LEARN FROM AGILE LEADERS
Agile leaders support and lead Agile Transformation by creating an
environment where:
Teams focus on building
high quality, high value
solutions for customers
People are more
important than ideas
People continuously improve and
develop each other
Failure is a necessary
consequence of doing
something new
People trust each other, even
when things go wrong
People are encouraged to
test hypothesis in order
to learn and improve
• Zombie scrum teams are often
trapped and may need a guide
• Raise issues but don’t solve it for them
• Aim to break the monotony and
change the way the team interacts
with the scrum framework…
Treatment #3
Revive the Dead
SHAKE THINGS UP
Shorter Sprint length
Focus Planning on
impacts and outcomes
Start Daily Scrum
reviewing Sprint Goal
and achievements
towards reaching it
Use roadmap to provide
context/insights Review.
Invite some real
customers/stakeholders
Use the Retrospective to
dream big
CELEBRATE WINS AND REWARD GOOD SCRUM BEVIOUR
We tend to focus on
what’s not working, call
out what is and celebrate
Ensure that what makes
us good is identified and
refined
Team Building, get to
know strengths and
capabilities of your team
Build Culture
A + B = C
Action + Behaviours = Culture
• Start small with 1 sprint, create a done
increment and develop mutual trust
• Sell/buy an entire team (long lived
teams)
• Sell/Buy Sprints (known velocity of
team and cost of fixed team)
• Swap in like for like Features
Treatment #4
Dare to Embrace
Agile Contracting
Principles
JOIN THE ZOMBIE SCRUM RESISTANCE
• Help us fight Scrum
that looks like
Scrum on the
surface, but lacks a
beating heart
• We offer tools for
first-aid and
treatment, and
investigate causes
• Do a Zombie Scrum
workshop
https://medium.com/zombie-scrum-resistance
• You are not alone in your fight against
Zombie Scrum
• Ask for help from experienced people
in the community
• Join forums and go to Meet Ups and
practitioners conferences
Treatment #5
Involve the
Broader Scrum
Community
• Zombie scrum is here and were not proud of it
• Thankfully we can do something about it
• Make transparent what is being delivered each Sprint
• Celebrate success and learn what helped create it
• Focus on improving results and outcomes each and every Sprint
• Maximise learning opportunities to become wiser and stronger
• Give it a go rather than fearing failure and doing nothing
• Hope you have been inspired to join the Zombie resistance
CONCLUSIONS
FIN
ZENEXMACHINA.COM
MELBOURNE@ZENEXMACHINA.COM
IN /ZENEXMACHINA
ZENEXMACHINA.COM/BLOG
@miahorri

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How to survive the zombie scrum apocalypse

  • 1. HOW TO SURVIVE THE ZOMBIE SCRUM APOCALYPSE LAST CONFERENCE 2019 MIA HORRIGAN - LEAD PARTNER AGILE PROGRAM DELIVERY ZEN EX MACHINA @MIAHORRI ZENEXMACHINA.COM/BLOG
  • 3. At first sight Zombie Scrum seems to be normal Scrum But it lacks a beating heart. The Scrum teams do all the Scrum events but a potential releasable increment is rarely the result of a Sprint WHAT IS ZOMBIE SCRUM?
  • 4. THE RISE OF ZOMBIE SCRUM Impending apocalypse or misunderstood hipster movement?
  • 10. KNOWING WHAT THE EARLY SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS of ZOMBIE SCRUM MIGHT HELP PREVENT A FUTHER OUTBREAK
  • 11. Symptom #1 No beating heart (of working product)
  • 12. HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNS…… It appears to be Scrum on the surface. Except there’s no beating heart Demo is not clickable and just ppt screen shots Going thru the scrum motions Hardly any working software (or none at all) There is lack of discussion in the sprint review and just a tick a box Completed functionality is a “nice to have” and can be completed in the next Sprint Tech focus and traditional functional silos intact (testing done by QA, deploy done by operations) Very unambitious definition of what ‘done’ means
  • 13. Symptom #2 No (desire for) contact with the outside world
  • 14. HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNS…… Different from movie zombies who seek out humans, Scrum zombies prefer to hide away and keep to familiar surroundings Old fashioned silo thinking Neither care what’s upstream nor what’s downstream in the value chain Product failed to meet customer expectations “QA should have caught that before deployment!” “I’m only here to code!” Just a cog in the wheel, unable and unwilling to change anything to have a real impact Avoid taking responsibility
  • 15. Symptom #3 No emotional response to success or failure
  • 16. HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNS…… Like a lifeless body, Zombie Scrum teams show no response to a failed or successful Sprint No direction, No alignment Items from backlog get carried over into next sprint without question Low team morale Items in backlog not tied to any sprint goal so completed “whenever” team feels like it Empty stares of numb resignation “There’s always a next sprint as iterations are artificial anyway!” Aimless trudge through a barren wasteland of development
  • 17. Symptom #4 No drive to improve
  • 18. HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNS…… Don’t have any intention to improve their situation. Actually nobody cares about this team. The stakeholders have forgotten the existence of this team long time ago. No joy and no drive for improvement Lifeless procession going through the motions of scrum Yes there are sprints but results are limited Scrum Master not present or focused on helping team grow Teams highly unstable Team members get loaned out to other teams in need of their specialist skills Product owner hardly ever present during sprint review or planning Boring retros and lots of complaining (moaning)
  • 19. Tell a story of a time when you witnessed Zombie Scrum symptoms! What happened?
  • 21. Org FORMAL STRUCTURE CEO Plan Build Test & Run Program Management Business Unit 1 Business Unit 2 Test Team Deploy Team Dev Team 2 Dev Team 1 Be agile! CIO Agile in name only – all other formal structures remain in place “its just something the dev teams do” “Water Scrum Fall” “Wagile”
  • 22. INFORMAL STRUCTURE Cross functional, multidisciplinary and self organising Have all the skills to deliver a “done” increment into production each iteration Development Test UI/UX Marketing PO Customers
  • 23. ORGANISATIONAL AGILITY Evolve into a flexible network structure Remove cumbersome org structures and move to a customer orientated team based approach that creates value end to end TRADITIONAL ORGANISATIONS EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES/ FUNCTIONAL GROUPS AGILE ORGANISATIONS DELIVERY END-TO-END SERVANT LEADERSHIP COLLABORATION COORDINATION
  • 24. “ A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of highest possible value - The Scrum Guide SCRUM (n) : “
  • 25. AGILE VALUE STREAM VISUALISATION AGILETRADITIONAL Market Company Customer Scrum team Scrum team Scrum team Market Company Customer Dev Dev Test QA CABSales PM Lead Div Mgr Dev CEO RTE
  • 27. 1. Where does your organisation stand in embracing Zombie Scrum? 2. Pair up. Discuss the results of the self-assessment. Do you have similar low or high scores? ACTIVITY: ASSESSING ZOMBIEFICATION Close the curtains turn off the lights Component teams Scrum events optional Sprint goal – deliver PBIs Optimise utilisation Command and control management Transparency and visibility End to end integration Feature teams Scrum roles, artefacts and events form basis of practice Sprint Goal – outcome based Servant Leadership 2 31 54 6 2 31 54 6 2 31 54 6 2 31 54 6 2 31 54 6 2 31 54 6 Optimise value delivered
  • 29. Adopting superficial trappings of agile Renaming meetings “stand ups’ and management reviews as “retrospectives” Team have no true autonomy, it’s an illusion Agile as hype - a method or set of tools Imitate technical practices without changing the main things – mindset, leadership style and culture CAUSE #1: A BIT TOO HOME GROWN OR “CARGO CULT SCRUM”
  • 30. No real understanding of value and transparency why its important No sprint goals tie into a goal orientated roadmap Without goals there is no urgency, no purpose, no motivation A smartly prioritised backlog could lead to a huge payoff and reduce cost of delay CAUSE #2: NO URGENCY
  • 31. Systemic mismatch with agile values Project mindset – only final version delivers value Scrum is a process that must be followed Working software is a “nice to have” Individuals responsible and rewarded for effort No customer focus – they don’t know what they want anyway CAUSE #3: COMPETING VALUES
  • 32. Only adopt part of the framework as doing Scrum was too difficult Extending the sprint a couple of days to get the work done Cancelling sprint review because there’s nothing to demonstrate Cancelling sprint retros because we don’t need it “We use post it notes and do stand ups” therefore we are agile CAUSE #4: SCRUM CHERRY PICKING
  • 33. Difficulty with contracts is that it’s all about trust Customer wants guarantees around budget, time, quality and scope Change control process is lacking Development team starts but just builds what was asked for Truly value-driven organisation embrace value-driven contracts built on transparency and trust Collaboration over Contract Negotiation CAUSE #5: CONTRACTS IMPLYING “WE DON’T TRUST YOU”
  • 34. Changing people’s behaviour is not about changing people, but changing the context which they are in: the smell of the place Strategy, organisation, process, infrastructure, policy etc. can leads to “smells” viz. constraint, compliance, control and contract “revitalize” people as opposed to “changing” people by creating a right “context” around them viz. stretch, discipline, support and trust CAUSE #6: THE SMELL OF THE PLACE (Professor Sumantra Ghosha)
  • 35. TODAY WE FIGHT BACK……
  • 36. HOW TO TREAT ZOMBIE SCRUM
  • 37. What is your boldest yet actionable idea for fighting Zombie Scrum as an individual or as a community?
  • 38. • Talk about the situation • Identify potential causes and solutions • Talk about purposes of agile and underlying values • Focus on what they can change rather than what they can’t Treatment #1 Become a Zombie Whisperer
  • 39. Agile is a mindset. Encompasses values, principles, and behaviours. It’s a contemporary way of working for everyone – executives, leaders and teams. AGILE MINDSET – DOING AGILE AND BEING AGILE LEFT RIGHT LOGIC STRUCTURE SOCIAL EMOTIONAL ACTIONS • Demonstrate agility by enacting it yourself • Inspect/adapt (empiricism) • Manage the system of work, not its people • Optimise flow of work • Alignment, cadence and synchronisation • Economic and value prioritisation FRAMEWORKS • Lean and Kanban • Scrum • XP • SAFe • Nexus • Scrum @ Scale • LeSS VALUES • Individuals and interactions • Collaboration • Working solutions • Responding to change ETHICS • Psychological safety • Self-organisation • Respect for people PRINCIPLES • Prioritise by value • Systems thinking • Transparency • Decentralised decision-making • Learning environment • Feedback loops • Agile as a “way of working” • Team work • Simplicity AGILE MANIFESTO AGILE PRACTICES Agile Mindset © Zen Ex Machina (2019)
  • 40. • Long-term detailed plans • Assign and control the work • Maximize capacity and effort • Keep all on schedule • Driven by meetings and reports • Intervene to fix all problems • Provide external motivators ($, job title) 40 A Mindset and Behavioral Shift for Management • Goals, vision, direction • Foster the environment • Help remove impediments • Attend Sprint Reviews • Share incremental feedback • Manage for value • Autonomy, mastery, purpose PREDICTIVE MANAGEMENT EMPIRICAL MANAGEMENT Are you going to be impacted by the change, or are you going to help lead the change?
  • 41. • Introduce people into the team that can show and explain how it works and communicate the right values • Bring in experienced agile coaches to help teams and management • Do a Scrum-safari Treatment #2 Introduce Healthy Scrum into the population
  • 42. Take team and management on a Scrum-safari to other companies and show how Scrum works there Look outside your own industry FIND OUT OTHER ZOMBIE SCRUM SURVIVORS
  • 43. LEARN FROM AGILE LEADERS Agile leaders support and lead Agile Transformation by creating an environment where: Teams focus on building high quality, high value solutions for customers People are more important than ideas People continuously improve and develop each other Failure is a necessary consequence of doing something new People trust each other, even when things go wrong People are encouraged to test hypothesis in order to learn and improve
  • 44. • Zombie scrum teams are often trapped and may need a guide • Raise issues but don’t solve it for them • Aim to break the monotony and change the way the team interacts with the scrum framework… Treatment #3 Revive the Dead
  • 45. SHAKE THINGS UP Shorter Sprint length Focus Planning on impacts and outcomes Start Daily Scrum reviewing Sprint Goal and achievements towards reaching it Use roadmap to provide context/insights Review. Invite some real customers/stakeholders Use the Retrospective to dream big
  • 46. CELEBRATE WINS AND REWARD GOOD SCRUM BEVIOUR We tend to focus on what’s not working, call out what is and celebrate Ensure that what makes us good is identified and refined Team Building, get to know strengths and capabilities of your team Build Culture A + B = C Action + Behaviours = Culture
  • 47. • Start small with 1 sprint, create a done increment and develop mutual trust • Sell/buy an entire team (long lived teams) • Sell/Buy Sprints (known velocity of team and cost of fixed team) • Swap in like for like Features Treatment #4 Dare to Embrace Agile Contracting Principles
  • 48. JOIN THE ZOMBIE SCRUM RESISTANCE • Help us fight Scrum that looks like Scrum on the surface, but lacks a beating heart • We offer tools for first-aid and treatment, and investigate causes • Do a Zombie Scrum workshop https://medium.com/zombie-scrum-resistance
  • 49. • You are not alone in your fight against Zombie Scrum • Ask for help from experienced people in the community • Join forums and go to Meet Ups and practitioners conferences Treatment #5 Involve the Broader Scrum Community
  • 50. • Zombie scrum is here and were not proud of it • Thankfully we can do something about it • Make transparent what is being delivered each Sprint • Celebrate success and learn what helped create it • Focus on improving results and outcomes each and every Sprint • Maximise learning opportunities to become wiser and stronger • Give it a go rather than fearing failure and doing nothing • Hope you have been inspired to join the Zombie resistance CONCLUSIONS