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Simultaneously Transitioning Two Offices from Waterfall to Agile

Agile / Scrum

10 May, 2019

Erin Medlin
Erin Medlin

Head of Digital Product at Better Place Forests

Erin Medlin describes how she rolled out Agile to an engineering team that was spread across two different offices.

Problem

I was brought in as a consultant to roll out Agile to a 50 person engineering team across two offices. The teams were currently working in a waterfall/ad hoc fashion.

Actions taken

I worked with the VP of Engineering and Product to develop pods aligned to business objectives. We rolled out the new pod structure and focused on both offices simultaneously. I then brought in a consultant to each office for 2 days of Scrum Master training, which the engineering and product team members participated in together. Afterwards, I participated in the Agile rituals of each team for two months to provide coaching and guidance for each team. While each team had a unique set of problems, I worked with the scrum masters to develop best practices that could be rolled out across all teams. I also worked with the executive leadership team to set expectations around adoption and velocity.

Lessons learned

  • Implementing Agile across an engineering organization can be challenging. It is better to start with one team/pod that has practiced Agile before and are eager to adopt it. They can create company best practices as well as model benefits for the executive leadership. Then, over time, roll out Agile to teams one at a time. This allows each team to adopt to Agile at their own pace and allows space for kinks in communication and for the process to be resolved.
  • It is important for all team members to have training and it's best if the team can do the training together.

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