Agile Transformation at an Entertainment Company: Based on a True Story | Part One
08 March 2019 by Scott M. Graffius ☕️ 3 minute read
Agile Transformation at an Entertainment Company: Based on a True Story
Scott M. Graffius, CEO of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™, helps companies achieve their strategic objectives and business initiatives through project management leadership. A fantastic agile transformation outcome with a client organization in the entertainment industry was the inspiration for Scott's award-winning book, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions. This is the story behind the book—told by Scott. Identifying details have been changed and certain elements have been excluded.
This article is the first installment of the eight-part story.
Part One: The Call
The assistant to the executive vice president (EVP) of technology for a division of a global entertainment company contacted me by phone. I was told that I was referred by someone who knew me and thought I would be a good fit for contract work. A one-hour consultation with the EVP was scheduled for the next day. I then received an email with several attachments including a non-disclosure agreement which needed to be executed and brought to the meeting.
I brought the documents to the session. The EVP explained that his division of the company was experiencing an alarming trend of problems with project management. He reported that deliverables were not meeting expectations, there was a marked decline in satisfaction, and—this was characterized as "the straw that broke the camel's back"—a highly skilled and very well-respected team member quit, citing the problems as her reason for departure.
After an hour with the EVP, we agreed to extend the meeting (initially, my complimentary consult) an additional hour (billable time). I learned that this division of the company previously used a traditional plan-driven/waterfall approach for development and delivery. The EVP explained that things worked reasonably well then and that they were "close enough" to being on-scope, on-budget, and on-time that team members and stakeholders were satisfied.
The EVP explained, however, that he wanted to adopt a model (Scrum) employed by some of the other divisions of the company. The EVP said that he conducted a search for a value-added reseller (VAR) to help his group move to agile. A VAR-partner of a popular software solution was selected, and the VAR transitioned the group to Scrum. Reportedly, very few problems surfaced during the VAR's contractual engagement, which ended two weeks into the first sprint (then, the duration for sprints was four weeks). Many problems surfaced subsequently, however. The VAR had been gone for two months at the time of my meeting with the EVP.
The EVP asked me to make things right. I explained that change depends on many people and multiple factors and that a specific end result could not be guaranteed. I suggested, however, that I'd be honored to work with his group in the first step—an assessment—which would help inform the subsequent work of foundational planning. The objectives of the assessment include working closely with the EVP, the Scrum Team and stakeholders to understand their goals—and the environment, roles and practices. He asked me when I could start. I asked him when he needed me, and he replied "immediately." I agreed to start the next day.
Agile Transformation at an Entertainment Company: Based on a True Story continues with Part Two: The Goals.
A fantastic agile transformation experience and result with a client organization in the entertainment industry was the inspiration for Scott M. Graffius’ book, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions. It helps technical and non-technical teams develop and deliver products in short cycles with rapid adaptation to change, fast time-to-market, and continuous improvement—which supports innovation and drives competitive advantage. The book has garnered 17 first place awards from national and international competitions. Credit is shared with Chris Hare and Colin Giffen, the technical editors on the publication. Scott and Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions have been featured in Yahoo Finance, the Boston Herald, NBC WRAL, the Dallas Business Journal, the PM World Journal, Learning Solutions, Innovation Management, and additional media publications. A trailer, high-resolution images, reviews, a detailed list of awards, and more are in the digital media kit at https://AgileScrumGuide.com. The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Strand Books, Harvard Book Store, Books-a-Million, The Booksmith, Hudson Booksellers, Savoy Bookshop & Café, Compass Books at SFO/Books Inc., Books & Books - Miami, University Press Books – Berkeley, and other retailers, distributors, and partners.
You're invited to review Scott's bio, find out about his speaking engagements, and read additional articles in the blog.
You're also invited to connect with Scott on social. Like his page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and connect with him on LinkedIn.
The website for his business—Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™—is http://Exceptional-PMO.com. The digital media kit for his award-winning book—Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions—is located at https://AgileScrumGuide.com.