Since Scrum is easy to understand beginners may use some of the practices and repeat them in a mechanistic way without understanding the principles
When Turkish real estate site Zingat realized that their Scrum adoption suffered from anti-patterns, they decided it was time to improve
Zingat.com started operating in cooperation with Doğuş Group and REIDIN in 2015. Zingat.com is a reliable real estate information and marketing platform that brings together real estate professionals and individuals under the same roof with accurate and comprehensive reference information by adhering to the concept of high quality service and transparent information.
Since Zingat is in a highly competitive business and being agile is the only way for them to be responsive to the market needs, they have been using Scrum and agility practices for a long time. Initially, there was only one team of four people who created the product “Zingat” from scratch. Since then the business has grown tremendously and as a result, the number and size of teams has grown. Currently there are 4 teams who are getting continuous requests from internal customers and external customers.
As we wrote above that they have already been applying Scrum practices, they were facing challenges and difficulties, so they decided to get coaching support. It was at this time that Zingat's CTO and Product Director came across our blogpost Scrum Antipatterns and thought that we were the right partner to support them. We offered them our Team Coaching Framework which is a revolutionary initiative by agile42 to speed up the team learning process and performance.
There are a lot of coaching tools you can apply to teams but since every team is unique and needs are special, we started with team assessments. This enabled the company to see what was missing and get a clear idea of the current status of the individual teams. In the assessments, we discussed with the team members how well they were able to turn agile principles into practices and also how well they were they are as teams. The results were self reflection of the team members so they were able to see and decide what actions needed to be taken. This was not a top down instruction, but instead bottom up commitment from team members.
Every team had different improvement areas but in general below were the initial findings.
Due to the complex, adaptable nature of software development, teams work with a lot of unknowns. This means that even with infinite planning and analysing, teams will always be making some assumption of how that software will be used in the future. The software teams were in need of perfect “analysing” within long hours of meetings before taking the items into the sprint.
The productivity and cognitive abilities of a team decreases with overtime, so Agile always promotes sustainable pace of development. Sustainable development also means catching an average productivity in terms of Sprint outputs. What we realised was, team had the opposite of this criteria. Agile teams were in need of clarified backlog items to include in the Sprints. Therefore, they had long hours of technical review and analysis before sprint planning meetings. Most of the time, Sprint backlogs were not ready according to team size although it was an experienced team. Sprints could not be started and a few days of breaks were decided until the backlog items get ready for team. The rhythm of the productivity was not predictable.
The Agile Manifesto describes a customer who is engaged and collaborates throughout the development process. This makes it far easier for development to meet the needs of the customer. The case was customer involvement was lacking through whole the sprint events so that team members were in ambiguity to be clear to start the items.
There was not a regular feedback mechanism between Scrum team and business partners, team had the intention to do their best but lack but they generally were able to verify customer satisfaction after they deploy it.
It took a long time for a requirement to be clear enough this sometimes prevented the teams’ capability to pull the next most valuable item. And since it took a long time before entering the some more valuable items were already in the que to be pulled by the team.This created a tension between Product owners and development team and was damaging trust in the Scrum teams.
The leadership team was aligned on the critical problems to be addressed and the desired cultural change. We had a backlog of leadership items to be worked on. One to one coaching was one of the achievements that implemented according to misalignment inside leaders.
The feedbacks from stakeholders and employees have been largely positive. Here's a selection.
«Although teams and team members had experience in practical application of Scrum and Agile frameworks, teams were not aligned for the correct application of scrum.»
«There were disputes on definition of team. Now there is a clear understanding of definition of team and self-organisation.»
«Before agile42 coaching support, Scrum was considered to be set of nothing but rituals. Now team agrees that although rituals (dailies, planning meeting etc) are required, the most important thing is the philosophy behind it.»
«Product owners were acting as the customers of development team. And vice versa. Now they are aware that Product Owners and development teams are indeed one team that run towards one goal.»
«Scrum teams used to have stories that are exceeding their capacity so that they could not manage to catch their Sprint goals. Now with the help of coaching support, they are aware about their capacity and make the planning accordingly.»
«ScrumMaster role has provided teams to better define and solve their conflicts.
«Teams started to use shared workspace.This change dramatically improved their collaboration and communication inside the team.»
«Every company has inconsistencies which is unique to it. agile42 taught us the Scrum framework very well but on the other hand, our requirements were defined for further solutions by diminishing the uncertainties.»
«Solutions and required processes were defined by teams by working closely.»
«“The roles and responsibility” definitions were one of the conflicts inside the teams. Every role were studied with owners and the rest of the team so that respect and trust can be built.»
«Teams had honest and genuine support through all processes so that a more healthy way of working was built.»
«We learned transparency is one of the unshakable pillars of Scrum so we are trying to build a transparent medium. Team members are trying to solve their problems by facing openly with each other.»
«DOD has provided a common language for team members so that Sprint outcomes is now in a better quality.»
«Using Time Box has really worked for us to hold more productive meetings.»
«Teams are now have a better focus on their Sprint Goals.This has raised productivity on the other hand reducing complexity.»
«In our previous model of work, Scrum teams had no knowledge about why they are doing the Scrum rituals. Now they are conscious about what is Scrum and its framework.»
Is everything perfect yet? No, of course they face challenges, ups and downs but this does not stop their efforts. Zingat is a company that has the consciousness of Agile values and has a spectacular vision to implement it at every aspect of company. By knowing that it is a journey they are eager and motivated to keep this continuous improvement spirit.
«When I read the “Scrum Anti-patterns” article by Ebru Yalçınkaya, I realised that we actually have these anti-patterns on application of Scrum in the company, so I immediately contacted Ebru to see if we could work together. They have a very good background of agile and Scrum practices. Their approach on coaching was very smooth and thus fruitful. Very good team, highly recommended. Zingat is a very young and dynamic company that plays for the leadership in the industry. On top of strong product, technology and customer service we provide; being agile across the entire company help us quickly reach our goals. Working with agile42 helped to get one step closer to our goals.”»
– Chief Technology Officer, Mehmet Erkek
«I would like to thank agile42 Coaches for their decisive and relentless support during our agile journey. We manage to build a better way of working and smart process with your support.»
– Director of Product Management, Halil Uzundal