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Guidelines for adopting SCRUM in Information Management Projects

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Many sites are adopting the SCRUM methodology. SCRUM is the leading agile framework for software development projects. Much of the advice right here on sharing with you what needs to be done can be accomplished with a variety of approaches. You can run a multi-month project plan with large scope that gets delivered at the end of the plan. That would be the waterfall approach. You can also execute the needful in the advice here on a small scope, taking prudent shortcuts in the steps in order to ensure you are delivering something of interest to a business user. That would be an agile approach, of which SCRUM is one.

However, it is not nearly enough to know a site’s methodology by just hearing they do SCRUM. There are sites on all points in the spectrum from full adherence to SCRUM to it being a meaninglessness term latched onto.

Full adherence can be:

• Everyone on the project team must be SCRUM certified (multi-week training and testing)

• They do everything they learned in that training and in the workbooks on the project

• All project decisions are made with SCRUM as the first and foremost touchstone

You want to be agile. Waterfall methods do not work in information management any longer. However, that may not necessarily translate to SCRUM. A good compromise may be to adopt some of the great ideas from SCRUM, but not necessarily go whole-hog with it such that it can become an impediment. Furthermore, the way some companies get into SCRUM is not very agile, but that’s for another time.

A healthy use of SCRUM/Agile in information management projects might be:

• A general emphasis on people over processes

• An emphasis on a working project over all else (I didn’t say “over documentation” here because I don’t want to discourage the minimal documentation that is done)

• Minimizing long cycles of acute time planning and opting instead for educated speculation

• Collecting project requirements into a project backlog, to be implemented in phases

• Reviewing each sprint after the fact

• Executing full lifecycle (“potentially shippable”) sprints every 3-6 weeks based on value of business requirements

• Choosing another batch of requirements to work on in the next sprint

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