“What room for manoeuvre do you have in your projects to try out other approaches and to consciously take new, easy paths? To what extent do companies give project managers, scrum masters and product owners as well as consultants a free hand in the choice of procedure, in project planning, communication or in the type of cooperation in the team (keyword self-organization)? And with what approaches do you succeed?” This is what the project magazine asks in the latest blog parade with the topic“More success through new freedoms in the project“.

I am happy to participate in this blog parade and answer the questions asked from my point of view. I am part of a team (with 5 people) that provides infrastructure services for a major customer. The product is a mixture of hardware and software such as a car, aircraft or an ICE. In order for the customer to remain anonymous, I do not elaborate on the product. It is important that a product is produced (hardware) that communicates with various IT systems via IT infrastructure and maps special use cases for the user. “A use case is a use case and bundles all possible scenarios that can occur when an actor tries to achieve a specific technical goal with the help of the system under consideration” (Source: Wikipedia).

Situation

One day, our customer demanded that we more agile from now on and the various service providers become more networked. He suggested the Scrum of Scrums method. The idea was that we on the one hand, work with the same software (Jira – software for the and project tracking) and, on the other hand, regularly cross-service providers Exchange. We are a total of four service providers in the project, which until 12 months have worked side by side rather than together:

  • IT infrastructure service provider (we)
  • IT software service providers
  • Hardware
  • Business Consulting

Scrum of Scrums: short and concise

I have already described the method behind Scrum of Scrums in detail in my article on scaling Scrum, so I will only briefly outline it here: The simplest approach to scaling Scrum is Scrum of Scrums. Imagine a project with six teams. Each team, in turn, consists of 8 team members. All teams hold their own Daily Scrum Meeting. Subsequently, further (comprehensive) scrum teams are formed, each consisting of a representative of the six teams and meeting weekly.

Scrum of Scrums in practice

In our project, each service provider has its own Team that works according to the classic assignment of the customer. In doing so, as an outsourcing service provider, we use our own tools and Ways. We used to contact one or more contact persons of the customer about the tasks. Due to the new Scrum of Scrums we now work together in a networked agile and together.

Scrum of Scrums in our project

In the first step, we have jointly who needs to work closely with whom? The first result was the Collaboration between hardware and business consulting. This was important because especially the hardware can be changed difficult during the course of the project and for a series production, the use cases of the specialist department are must be voted on. In terms of content, the meeting usually revolves around the Technical concept.

Subsequently, as an infrastructure service provider, we the task of adapting our servers and virtual environments to new hardware Adjust. In this process, the hardware manufacturer agrees extensively with in another meeting. Content here is usually the technical Implementation of use cases.

Finally, there is another round of consultation with the IT software service providers in which software and operating topics are clarified (DevOps). DevOps is an art word from the terms development and IT operations and denotes a process improvement approach. To ensure that requirements are not misunderstood, a representative from the business team is often also present at the meeting. There is no need to coordinate software and hardware because we have virtualized the environments to the extent that it is not important for the software manufacturer which hardware is used.

Due to the contractual situation, service providers must continue to be controlled by the customer. For this reason, each circle in the second level, a dedicated contact person of the customer as organiser and Scrum Master. We work together on a Jira board of the customer, which synchronizes with our internal ticket systems.

A meeting in each week is also held in of the overall round. In doing so, the representatives of the district report as a representative of each service provider discusses the overall progress and discussthes the overall Questions. All contact persons and decision-makers of the customer are also invited to this weekly meeting. The central element is a Jira Board with Epics so that everyone can get a quick overview. An Epic is short said a major task (e.g. setting up a webshop) that would be included in other subtasks (Securing a domain, installing a webshop system, etc.) Structured Is.

Implications for collaboration and success

This new way of working has improved cooperation on complex product issues, which can only be handled by several experts. The cohesion and fun in the project have also greatly increased, as well as the loyalty to the customer as well as the commitment to the product. In order not to violate guidelines, each meeting and each circle is conducted by a special contact person of the customer. It took us just under a year to establish the way we work and always had the full support of the customer’s management.

In my experience, clients nowadays are not only open to new approaches, they are often even so familiar and know what they want that they themselves ask the contractor to use certain methods. What experiences have you learned? Join the blog parade with your experience!

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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