Ken Schwaber: Path to Agility

Agile Boston’s April meeting was quite a treat. About 60 lucky attendees got to hear Ken Schwaber, grandfather of Scrum, talk for an hour in an intimate setting at PayPal’s Boston headquarters. Ken spoke about scaling Scrum toward what he called the Path to Agility. You can stay in touch with Ken at:

Addressing some of the challenges facing organizations as they strive to become agile, Ken first presented data showing Agile projects are reported to be 3 times more successful than waterfall projects. Summarily, an Agile organization has a competitive advantage (because it can adapt to market changes more quickly and correctly.)  If your organization wishes to become agile it can either work toward becoming agile (Path to Agility) or “buy” agile, but of course if you really could just buy it off the shelf then you should expect no competitive advantage.

Ken also highlighted common metrics for tracking progress. These include ratios such as:

  • Dev budget to revenue,
  • revenue per dev employee,
  • customer retention, dev employee retention,
  • maintenance costs to dev budget,
  • cost per product backlog item etc.

Just as GM couldn’t produce quality cars without putting in the work to change their process, your organization needs to demonstrate effort at all levels, especially managers and executives for your agile product, project and program to realize positive ROI.

Thus Ken introduced the concept of enterprise scrum, which builds upon Scrum for software development as a framework for change management. The end goal for this effort being increased ROI, higher customer and employee retention, and competitive advantage.

How is your organization faring with Agile?

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