Why Agile Scrum, or in other words: How to convince your stakeholders?

If you want to start working with Agile Scrum you need support from your stakeholders. Scrum is fundamentally different from the Waterfall approach so you will encounter many hurdles.

Convincing your stakeholders always starts by listening carefully to their concerns. In the traditional way of working a lot of time is spend on Governance. Managers want to know upfront how much money will be invested and when the requested software will be delivered. So first explain to them that they don’t lose control with Agile Scrum. Even better;

You can predict exactly how much money will be spent because the team size is fixed. And you can also predict when software will be delivered, which is every sprint.

Moreover, stakeholders can influence the functionality of the system after every sprint, which is far better that the Waterfall approach.

The next step is to prove that Agile Scrum will really improve the current way of working. To do that you need to make one or more hypotheses. For example: if we adopt Agile Scrum our productivity will improve with at least 25%. Or: if we adopt Agile Scrum we will save at least 30% on our software development costs, or our time to market will improve with 14 days or more. Now the tricky part starts. You need reliable data to measure this. With a reliable measurement system you can prove that your hypothesis is right (or wrong). Again, it is all about LEAN.

Very often the stakeholders will want you to set up a business case for the transformation to Agile Scrum. That’s understandable, because that is the way they usually make decisions. If available you can use your data for this. Make some assumptions on the improvements, and calculate what this would mean if the whole organization would use Scrum.

If you don’t have comparable data (which is quite often the case) you can make a Value Stream Map of your Software Delivery Process. Sit together with everybody who is involved in getting your software delivered to production. Write down every step you have to take, who is responsible for it, and how much time it takes on average to finalize this step. You’ll probably see that there’s a lot of waiting time in this process. Now make this map again if you would use Agile Scrum, and see where you can improve in the process. With this information you can calculate the possible savings/improvements for your organization.

There are many more arguments to start with Agile Scrum. It gives you opportunities, but sometimes it’s an absolute necessity. If your business is disrupted by new players in the market, you may discover that agility can be your rescue.