Welcome back to our delight Agile series. This time, I will spend a few words around “Skills”.

A few days ago a Colleague of mine asked me to help him in responding to an RFP. The goal was to assess required skills to transit from waterfall teams to Agile ones. The Client (let’s call in this way) asked us to deliver a plan and a roadmap to introduce Agile as smooth as possible. Although the real challenge was to define a coherent approach. Consider that shift from old habits to new ones is always complex, especially for huge Organizations.

In the next sections, I will try to explain how and what we did to help this Client.
First of all, we defined two different paths. One for the Product Owner and another one for the Scrum Master.

Product Owner

As described in the Scrum Guide, a Scrum Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the Development Team.

Below what must be considered:

# Item Summary Description
1 Screening pre-training Define the skills (technical and soft) He/she should be subject matter expertise with a technical background, and with some skills of project management.

Moreover, he/she should also be a:

  • Stakeholder delighter
  • Visionary
  • Storyteller

Scrum Master

As described in the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that Scrum is understood and enacted. Scrum Masters do this by helping the Scrum Team adhere to Scrum theory, practices, and rules.

Below what must be considered:

# Item Summary Description
1 Screening pre-training Define the skills (technical and soft) He/she should be a great leader with strong project management skills. Moreover, he/she should also be a:

Moreover, he/she should also be a:

  • Conflict-resolver
  • Problem-resolver
  • Motivator

In common for both path

Here below all the other items to be considered:

# Item Summary Description
1 Organize Arrange training course path Define:

  • Training materials
  • Delivery mode (online, in-class)
  • Number of participants
  • Trainers
  • Case studies
  • Exercises
  • Logistics
2 Rate Assess training sessions Participants will receive a Performance Review Form in order to assess training sessions.

These feedbacks help to make training more effective for the future sessions.

3 Evaluate Gauge participant’s knowledge Evaluate topics discussed during each session with specific exercises and quizzes.

These follow-ups help to tailor the upcoming sessions with real comprehension of the topics discussed

4  Certify  Make the exam Prepare and make the exam to an accredited center.

As simple as that…the Client starts this program of transformation with the first set of training sessions. At the moment they did not have any complaints, on the contrary, the appreciated the methodology used. As far as I know, we still make business with them.

Conclusions

It is always good to start an epochal shift like this one from the training, but the real challenge is not to produce only Scrum Masters or Product Owners but, more important, to transform the DNA of the Organization. In fact, the real revolution is moving from Traditional Organizations to Agile ones.

In Agile, the role of the manager is to enable the team member to contribute their full talents and capabilities to generate value for customers and eliminate any impediments that may be getting in the way. The focus is on delivering value to customers. The customer is the boss, not the manager.

The role of the manager in traditional management is the opposite. The managerial function is to identify what needs to be done, to tell the employee what to do, and then to ensure the employee completes the work according to instructions. The primary goal is to make money for the firm. The manager is the boss.

In Organizations where there is a fundamental belief in the“the manager is the boss” approach, it’s difficult to implement Agile effectively. There is continuing friction between the different goals and approaches. As a result, when adoption of Agile is limited to the team level, it risks being incomplete and dysfunctional, producing little if any improvement for the Organization.

My final tips…save money in training if you do not change the mentality of the management… as simple as that.

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Cristiano Sacco
Cristiano Sacco

Manager with experience in Waterfall and Agile project methodologies.

Project manager with experience in different type of CRM technologies (Oracle-Siebel / Salesforce.com).

Solution architect engaged in several international CRM assessments and capability reviews.

Senior CRM application consultant, with extensive international experience working on large client projects with multi-cultural teams.

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