Scrum, what is that? Sounds like something that sits on the surface of a pond, doesn’t it? Those were my first thoughts after hearing the word a couple years ago. Scrum is actually an agile project management methodology. We use it at Rackspace Email & Apps because things around here change very fast and we need to put processes in place that allow us to keep pace.
Although we’re a growing company, overall we’re still very horizontal. How horizontal? Well, I can walk up to anyone of the founders and talk to them about anything I’d like – no chain of command, no vertical hierarchy. And, project managers aren’t molded by the command and control structure so prevalent in the corporate world. Instead, project managers are facilitators and coaches making sure the processes put in place are lightweight and stripped of waste. This is where Scrum comes in. The lightweight methodology of Scrum fits right in with Rackspace culture.
Scrum allows us to turn things around quickly. We can look at what is important now and get those things done. We don’t wait years between software releases. We aim to release early and often. Watching our teams embrace this new way of working has been exciting and the challenges that have arisen further energize us to find new solutions. Some of the challenges include: limited resources and working with non-development teams like design and writing.
Here, we don’t have tomes of documentation lying around. We have conversations. We don’t mandate that everyone use a particular tool for tracking their workflow, we let the teams decide what works best for them. We don’t tell others how to do something, we open up the conversation and trust others to create the environment in which they can do their best work. Within this philosophy we weave Scrum and Scrum-inspired processes. From sprint planning meetings, to daily stand-ups, to retrospectives; we’re finding ways to make it all work. So much so that we currently have 17 teams using Scrum methods. And, as we move forward, we’ll share some of our experiences with you and feel free to share your Scrum experiences and questions with us right here.