Project rescue at ACMA by introducing Scrum

The Situation

Zen Ex Machina was engaged to assist the ACMA rescue one of its mission critical business projects. After initial investigation, the project was found stuck in analysis paralysis. ZXM then moved the whole project, the business and the development team to Scrum to get things moving again.

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 support.

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 archetypal 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 – economic prioritisation, Sprints, buildinging-in quality – were presented and incorporated into the project’s practices.

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

With ZXM and Scrum, the project was delivered early and under budget -- one of the first times this had occured in the agency. The ACMA now uses Scrum for development and support of all of its products.

Improved productivity

80% improvement in delivery output in 6 months.

Improved business engagement

Outcomes aligned to business needs with internal stakeholders intimately involved in every stage of delivery.

Improved strategic alignment

Greater ability to pivot the entire program of work to align to emerging strategic needs.

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