Scrum and Relationship Management

September 28, 2009 CollabNet VersionOne

Those who’ve tried to implement agile or Scrum at their organization know all too well that one of the biggest obstacle to a successful adoption is cultural. That is, whether an agile transformation sinks or swims usually comes down to the team members who must adjust their ways of working to align with the values of a management approach that significantly departs from traditional project management mindsets.

Meredith Levinson recently ran a story titled “Project Management: How IT and Business Relationships Shape Success” on, which discusses the strategies several organizations have used to improve decision-making process and better communicate between software developers and stakeholders. On the third page of the article, she explains that one organization discussed in the article, Shaw Industries, utilizes Scrum to bridge the gap between developers and managers. Shaw’s Greg Livingston explains:

The agile development methodology, just by design, promotes better relationships,” says Livingston. “Scrum and Agile force interaction [between IT and business partners] on a more frequent basis. By doing so, IT delivers solutions on an incremental basis to the business, as opposed to the waterfall method, where it’s a year and a half before the business sees the fruits of an initiative.

He continues:

We’ve had groups with troubled relationships, and certainly initial meetings are not always effective out of the gate,” he says. “But at least we can agree that we’re going to focus on 15 key items in the next 30 days, and at the end of the 30 days, we’ll get back to you.

For those of you who use Scrum, would you agree with Livingston’s description of agile? Have you seen it unite IT and business departments at your organization?

Read the article in its entirety here.

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