Transition from Waterfall to Scrum in organizations

Scrum is a modern product development framework. Reference ( The fate of every existing position in a company implementing Scrum is not unambiguous and predetermined. It depends on the subject of activity (type of projects) of the company, as well as on the specific skills, knowledge, experience, and obligations of the respective person.

In general, the introduction of a scrum should not lead to the dismissal of employees, which would create unnecessary tension and fear. On the contrary, it should be seen as opening new opportunities for the development and acquisition of additional skills that increase the capacity of each employee. So there is no reason to worry, the career path of each colleague will be carefully planned, both with his participation and that of his immediate superiors. I provide information on potential developments for each of the colleagues who asked questions, as well as specific guidance on their concerns.

Can I keep my current role as a project manager and not participate in Scrum roles? (Julia Gabriel, Project Manager)

Many companies that work on a variety of projects add scrum as an additional option, not the only way to work. In these cases, in terms of flexibility and efficiency, it is possible to keep some positions or simply combine them, ie. PM remains PM when the waterfall method is applied, but to expand its field of action, it acquires an “Agile” in front of its name. In this way, he combines his traditional function, where it is useful, but also opens the way for potential development in the scrum framework, preparing for the position of scrum master. In any case, this is a compromise/transition phase and such a function in Scrum should be clear that it does not exist in this form. Read more: “Working on projects with Scrum and Kanban: which to choose from both“,

Given that the employee’s inquiry concerns a team in which Scrum will be fully implemented, the answer could be:

“The implementation of the scrum method implies the application of all its main elements: events; artifacts and roles. There is no role as a “project manager” in the new framework. Your participation and responsibilities should be reviewed in the light of your knowledge, skills, experience, and preferences for future career development. You can discuss the latter with your immediate supervisor, taking into account the type of projects your team is working on, of course.

In general, you have several options. If you have extensive experience in managing multiple projects, you could prepare for the position of Product Owner. However, you should keep in mind that the Product Owner’s role is the main person responsible for creating business value and it is he who determines the priority strategic management of the project, therefore extensive experience and knowledge in the specific field is required. The other logical possibility for you is the role of Scrum Master, which, however, requires serious preparation, training, and most of all overcoming the command and control management approach typical for your previous position. If you do not have the desire or readiness for either position, you could take on other types of responsibilities within the Development Team for which you are qualified. Read more: “Preparation for Scrum Master certification exam on Sprint event“,

All of the above does not mean that there will inevitably be changes in the documentation of your position. You can stay in the same official position, supplement it or even replace it. You will decide this together with the management.

I advise you to view the changes not as worrying constraints, but as new opportunities for development in front of you, which will only expand your competencies and career opportunities.

If you need further clarification regarding the specifics of the Scrum framework and its roles, you can contact me personally for information and assistance. ”

I don’t see Scrum supporting my role. What will this mean for my career in our company? (Peter Elaine, CTO)

“The implementation of Scrum does not imply any documentary change in your official position. On the contrary, the only difference in practice should be in your attitude and way of working. If so far you have had clear control and management powers (even micromanagement), you should keep in mind that the teams in scrum are self-organizing / cross-functional and responsible for their actions individually and as a team. Ie your role will be more to facilitate facilitated, open communication, to stimulate team spirit, a collaboration between members. To achieve this, you can work closely with your scrum master to guide you through the process. Your narrow technical specialization will only help you in resolving strictly technical issues or related conflicts that the scrum master cannot and should not take into account.

Of course, you have the opportunity to take the position of Product Owner, if there is one open and you have the necessary competencies, experience, and training. Your decision, with the approval of the management, of course, is to remain part of the development team in the future or to challenge yourself, striving for a new role within the new framework. Reference: “Scrum framework: Questions and Answers“,

Do I have to take part in the Scrum events we are talking about? I’m a designer and I don’t see the point in attending meetings that don’t concern our design. If I have to participate in these modern introductions, I can easily find a job in another company. (Mariah Wells, graphic designer)

“Implementing the new way of working (scrum) concerns the whole company and the whole work process. It is not an innovation for a certain category of responsibilities or a certain type of position. It is a radically different mindset, which comes to establishing team spirit, effective communication between all different units, and increasing productivity by creating a “well-oiled machine” of its scattered stand-alone components. The value of each staff member in the company lies in the unique contribution he can make to the end product, which is never the work of a single person.

Your role as a graphic designer is extremely important for the original appearance of the product, which, however, can not be realized without close collaboration with colleagues who are responsible for its technical characteristics. These events are designed to avoid unnecessary “waste” and to optimize the work process for each employee. In your case, this will save the unpleasant taste of creating a beautiful design for a feature that turns out to be outdated or unnecessary due to a lack of clarity and priorities (for which the frame will contribute). Reference: “Why do you want to be a certified Scrum Master?“,

There are many new opportunities to improve your work process over time if you want to look up and pay attention to them. In case your participation in specific events or activities wastes your time or creates other difficulties, you can easily share them with the team and the scrum master. In the scrum environment, every opinion matters and every voice will be heard. So I urge you to take advantage of the opportunities instead of focusing on the problems that are to be solved.

I understand very well that change creates stress and uncertainty for most people, but we cannot stop the world and technology from evolving and adapting to new market requirements and conditions. We are the ones who need to adapt. Let us not forget that flexibility and a willingness to improve are the most valuable qualities that underlie any success. If you have additional questions, concerns or ideas, I would like to discuss them in the necessary details. ”

I don’t understand what exactly Scrum will improve in our work? (Stephen Peters, programmer)

“Scrum will improve communication within the teams, bring clarity to the distribution of responsibilities and the amount of work that needs to be done in a certain amount of time. All team members will become more cooperative, cross-functional, self-organizing. Over time, concepts such as “waste” will become obsolete in the company. Daily short events will give an accurate and adequate update of the status of the work, what follows and what problems have arisen.

For you, things will be predictable and clear. All these results will be achieved by implementing events that facilitate and make forecasting more effective; limiting the amount of work to what can be done (at your discretion in a team spirit); allow adaptation and improvement of the work process. The clearly defined roles in the scrum will also contribute to this, among which there will be people whose direct commitment will be to promote open communication and education in the values ​​of Scrum.

For more information on the framework rules that guarantee the above results, please contact me to send you additional materials. ”

I’m very excited about integrating Scrum into our work and I can’t wait to get started. Can anyone tell me what and how I will do exactly? (Kate George, Senior Public Relations Expert)

“Scrum is directly related to the way we work on each project. It suggests several new roles, events, and rules. However, the latter will not have a direct impact on your position and obligations. Of course, as part of the company, you will be familiar with the nature, meaning, and consequences of the change, but only insofar as it concerns all those images, strategic and communicative aspects that affect your work. As far as such innovation is ideological, (in attitudes and attitudes towards work) certain aspects of it would be useful for presenting our company in a better light. If you need more information or other specific questions, I remain available.“

I read a little about Scrum and I would like to be appointed to the Product Owner position. Please answer whether my request will be granted. (Kimberly Wilson, Advertising Manager)

“Theoretically, there is no obstacle to scrum being applied to digital marketing and advertising as a field of work. However, the extent to which this is necessary and effective must be assessed after an analysis of the specific work process, its pace, needs, and volume. If the marketing department is quite busy with commitments and the work of iterations will optimize it, this will be a useful move. Regarding the competence of the Product Owner, insofar as it determines the priority strategic management of the project, you should keep in mind that extensive experience and knowledge in the specific field is required.

However, the final decision on whether the method will cover the way of working and the marketing department has not yet been made by the management. At present, the analysis of the work does not show the need for its implementation. The latter does not mean that it will not be useful to be aware of the changes, as the latter may serve the purpose of your work in a broad sense. ”

I would like to participate in Scrum roles as a Product Owner. I do not mind fulfilling all my current duties, as well as being assigned new ones, which I would be happy to learn and master. (Steve Paulson, Project Coordinator)

“We welcome your readiness to develop and your desire to learn new responsibilities in the scrum framework. As you know, many pieces of training are yet to be organized, which will allow you to get acquainted in more detail with the roles in Scrum. Maybe the role you are targeting is the product owner. However, it is good to keep in mind that the Product Owner is the main person responsible for creating business value and it is he who determines the priority strategic management of the project, therefore extensive experience and knowledge in the specific field is required.

You can have conversations with your manager and after analyzing the needs of the team you work for, find the best current and potential position for you in the future. The road to implementing Scrum is a long one, the process will not be completed in a week or two. The latter will give you clarity and you will be able to find the right place for you in the new way of working.

Depending on your experience, you have the opportunity for a transitional period in which you have no problem continuing to work in the same position, but to look for your place in one of the roles of the Scrum framework. Please contact me personally to provide you with additional materials that I think will be useful in exploring the new opportunities offered by Scrum.”

I would like to join the Scrum team as a Quality Manager, or something like that, if possible. (Kate Wells, head of quality control)

“It’s good to keep in mind that scrum doesn’t involve changes in your function. The only difference will be in the way you work and communicate with your colleagues. (The same applies here as for the technical manager regarding the “management” functions).

There is no need to change your position unless, after approval by management, you make substantial new commitments that will lead to a change in your position. It all depends on your interest, experience, skills, and the requirements of the projects your team is working on, of course.

By Robert Brown

Robert Brown is a longtime manager of a technology organization and author of a management book. In his spare time, Mr. Brown helps students get a better education by helping to publish free study materials.

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