Scrum Coaching and Scrum Master Services Expedite a Building Manufacturer’s Cloud Migration

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The Assessment: Our client, a manufacturer of building products, had been working toward the cloud migration of their order entry and pricing system for several years without success.  Their primary needs were Scrum coaching and Scrum Master services to support the cloud migration.

The DSS Solution: The client engaged DSS to mentor their team in using Agile/Scrum processes. In addition, a DSS Certified Scrum Master (CSM) participated in the cloud migration project. The project had been in progress for more than 3 years and had suffered multiple setbacks that kept adding more work to achieve the end goals.  Scrum was a good choice for this project as it lends itself well to projects where the outcome and steps to achieve the outcome are unclear and complex.

When we joined the effort, the client had a very unclear set of known tasks, which were poorly organized and had unclear ownership. The team involved in the project was mostly picking up tasks in a reactionary way, putting out the hottest fire and then moving to the next one.  We spent the first days and weeks identifying the known backlog of work, prioritizing it, and improving the definition of the tasks as Stories in their Backlog.  We also conducted training with stakeholders and business representatives supporting the project so that everyone was familiar with Scrum and the way in which we would be organizing and accomplishing the work. 

The work of identifying tasks, capturing them as Stories, and refining understanding of the details of each Story was a continual process throughout the life of the project. We organized the work into two-week Sprints, thus enabling the team to address the most important work while continuing to deliver value to the project in parallel by identifying and refining all of the unknown work that remained.   

The client followed all of the standard Scrum ceremonies, including Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Customer Demos.  The demos were very helpful in creating a desire to continually finish and deliver work, so the team could demonstrate value and move on to the next highest priority work from the Backlog.  

Capturing and organizing the work to be done into a Backlog aided the client greatly when they encountered attrition of project team members. The existence of the Backlog enabled the client to get temporary workers focused quickly on the highest priority development work so they could contribute within a very short time of onboarding.

By breaking down the work into tasks deliverable within the two-week Sprints, the developers were able to focus their learning on just the areas of focus to which they were assigned and to begin delivering value very quickly.  

The DSS Difference: By bringing our extensive experience utilizing the Scrum process to organize highly complex work with unknown or unclear end results, we were able to guide the client to complete their cloud migration successfully. After a long 3 years of little progress, we empowered them to complete their cloud migration in 11 months. Furthermore, we provided structure so that the client could discover their path forward into the future.

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