Zen Ex Machina rescues a project at ACMA by introducing Scrum

The Situation

Zen Ex Machina was engaged to assist the project manager of one of the ACMA's key business projects move the project to using Scrum to hasten its delivery after some time of analysis paralysis. Key to a successful outcome, was to ensure that the project team could improve its capability to manage the Scrum process successfully itself without continued coaching suppport.

Agile Collaboration

The Solution

Training the team

ZXM first trained the team on the essentials of Scrum. This was a one day session combining core agile and Scrum processes with game-based play and simulation to enable rapid assimilation of concepts.

Increasing awareness of the new project’s paradigm amongst stakeholders

The team’s training day was followed this with a stakeholder workshop. This workshop invited key business stakeholders to assist producing and ranking the Product Backlog using traditional UX activities, including:

  • Personas – identifying the archtetypal users of the system, their needs and wants
  • Card sorting – categorising User Stories and feature sets into groups based on their value category (useful, usable, desirable, accessible, credible, findable) to those personas
  • Target diagrams – to rank sets of value categories with the ones in the centre being of highest value

On completion of the activities, the top 10 ranked items from each participants’ group was placed on the wall and each individual given the opportunity to rank the feature sets. The most common score then formed the basis of the first cut of the Product Backlog.

During the project activities, old, familiar concepts of categorising requirements – such as MoSCoW – were discussed and the new Scrum concepts and processes – ranking, Sprints, iterations – were presented.

Coaching the Team

ZXM used a behavioural modelling technique to improve the team members competence with the roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner. By focussing on key meetings, the team reached a level of unconscious competence within three months.

The Results

Within 12 months, the ACMA now enjoys a 25% efficiency saving through cost avoidance on its ICT projects when using Scrum. Zen Ex Machina was engaged by the AIS to coach its website redevelopment project through its envisioning stage to help create a strong foundation of users' needs as the basis of its delivery.

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