Sabine Canditt of Siemens showed an interesting curve for Scrum implementation in her excellent ScrumGathering presentation in London recently. It shows how introducing the Scrum initially creates chaos and then stabilizes with a quiz success and good motivation. This is when the team gets into the rhythm and starts eliminating the waste that's directly under its control. After that we often see the velocity stabilizing and the the team's motivation plummeting as it becomes more and more clear how much of the waste cannot be removed by the team alone. This it becomes clear that the organization itself is the main impediment. When the team realizes this and has no mandate to remedy the situation we end up in The Valley Of Tears.
At this point, some organizations will decide that Scrum does not work and give up.
Better organization can look to Deming for inspiration on what to do.
Leadership is the key word and it is the key success factor for going beyond this point. The reason is simple. Large organizations are built to be robust so that they can accommodate a high turn-over of average employees and still generate predictable results. They are designed like supertankers to stay the course and to prevent change. Management, then is about keeping the machine running. Leadership is providing the vision and support to rebuild it in a better way as we go along, upsetting the status quo and going against the very nature of the robust organization. This is not only a middle management issue. Leadership and the constancy of purpose to drive improvements and innovation starts in the boardroom and it builds on the concepts of continuous improvement, learning and quality work.
It is a great challenge and our best wishes for the New Year go out to all the leaders who will make this happen in 2008.
Happy New Year!