Back in 2007, Patrick Austin (a principal at Annadel Consulting), started a working relationship with Marc Wolenik founder of a web startup called Webfortis, and together they built up a Microsoft Dynamics CRM consulting business.
It was a perfect match of skills – Marc was fantastic at selling software and partnering with companies like Microsoft, and Patrick excelled at consulting with these software customers and delivering their software solutions.
Microsoft started bringing Webfortis into deals and Marc and Patrick were able to work through contractors in the US (and overseas) to build complex Microsoft solutions. Over time, and after many additional contractors were hired, Marc and Patrick realized they needed to hire local individuals that had very specific talents around software selling and delivery – Marc & Patrick needed to clone themselves and scale to meet increasing demand.
We were clearly in over our heads and our newly-founded software delivery framework started to crumble. We started missing key deliverables, timelines, budgets, expectations, and myriad other things that can occur when delivery teams are not firing on all cylinders, and when not fully understanding project management.-Patrick Austin, Annadel Consulting Principal
Agile and Scrum will fix all your problems – that’s what Patrick was hearing from others; although in retrospect, none of those people had actually implemented Agile and Scrum properly. So, Patrick decided to pick up a book he’d been hearing a lot about “Succeeding with Agile” by Mike Cohn, because he was hopeful that it would solve all of their software delivery issues.
I got about 50 pages into this book and tossed it aside – this Agile book was all about PEOPLE! I needed real answers, not a bunch of hippy dippy B.S.-Patrick Austin, Annadel Consulting Principal
Fast-forward about a year, and Marc and Patrick started a new Agile and Scrum initiative at Webfortis that at least started embracing some of the Scrum “ceremonies” (meetings). There were immediate positive results with this approach, primarily around daily commitments to other team members, and also around collaborating daily with the teams.
Unfortunately, they realized over time that they were lacking proper communication between teams and from managers to employees – they were lacking the “Agile” aspect of Agile and Scrum.
Eventually, they realized that they must first implement Agile (a mindset that embraces value, flexibility, failure, collaboration, and teamwork), and then implement Scrum. Everyone must philosophically be on the same page before teams can attempt to implement a software delivery framework like Scrum.
After many hundreds of engagements since this time, it’s become apparent to Patrick that the terms Agile and Scrum are not properly understood and thrown around to the point of complete obfuscation.
My goal with your organization, is to crystallize the concepts around Agile & Scrum, coach your management teams upon embracing an Agile philosophy, and then focus upon your Software Delivery Playbook utilizing Scrum and Agile tools like Microsoft Azure DevOps.