The Agile Movement…Becoming a Scrum Master


In a worldwide study conducted by the Project Management Institute in 2016 it is was found on average, $122m is wasted in every $1b spent on projects due to poor project management practices. It correlates directly to just how effective (and efficient) taking an idea or strategic direction through to delivery can present enormous challenges. Generally, the larger the organization, the more complex the task becomes. Legacy systems, new technologies and infrastructure (think “the cloud”), “digital transformations”, a data focus and improving the customer experience all come to mind. Add onto this existing processes, competing agendas and budgets and the variances in just how cohesive a culture is also added into the equation.

Enter the agile movement. Increasingly it has become “the norm” now to see more and more companies move to an agile environment or approach to their project management and even business as usual environments to bring about a more effective outcome. Over time project managers have used various methodologies and practices as a framework. Popular methodologies from the past (and still current) include Waterfall (for want of a better description; sequencing), Critical Path or Critical Chain Project Management to PMI (more a set of standards applied) have been the common approach. However, in 2001 a new approach was developed…Scrum using and agile approach to project management.

At the heart of Agile and Scrum it is a about changing the approach to projects and focusing more intently on interactions between people in smaller and more manageable time frames. In theory, it is about people being more engaged and therefor being able to identify and breakthrough road blocks and challenges more effectively. The goal is to become more effective in a world where expectations are centered around speed, mobility, user experience, customer experience and improving the bottom line!

The most common approach to running an agile environment is through Scrum. Scrum is breaking down the traditional project manager role into a product owner, the team and a Scrum Master. There is certainly still method and science to this subset of an agile approach and it applies 5 key frameworks which include looking at; backlog refinement, sprint planning, stand up meetings, sprint reviews and overall retrospective meetings.

When we think about what the future might bring us, it involves a lot of change! With the take up in applying this approach to change (and initiatives within that change) it just may be time for project managers, business analysts and even those looking at more effective ways of cutting through team communication to look to the future. The agile movement, particularly through scrum is not slowing down. It just may be time to upskill and move with those times. Not only in a project management sense but opening ways of running a more effective team which could have many moving pieces.

Various organizations run training and the best place to start is “google”. There is no shortage of training providers!