Agile Scrum for Managing Creative Projects

The discussion here by Kevin Donaldson on Balihoo is about moving away from the factory mentality – in this sense:

Seth Godin uses a broader term in his book Linchpin where he defined a factory as:

“… an organization that has it figured out, a place where people go to do what they are told and earn a paycheck”

When rolling out Scrum process to a team used to waterfall I’m noticing that a lot of team members are not comfortable *not* being told what to do.  Being told what to do is safer, I guess.

“…as business’s mature, it is inevitable that parts of the organization will become a factory –  areas where the work is repeatable and comoditized.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however more and more things in modern business cannot be ‘systematized’.  This can be scary to many people that want to work in a job with a map to tell them what to do.   It can also be a thorn in the side of traditional process engineers who love to create process maps for everything.  What some fail to consider is that if a process can be mapped, it is likely that it can be copied and therefor starts a march down the path towards comoditization.

In the creative economy process engineers and the process’s they create can actually reduce operational effectiveness when they attempt to systematize everything in the organization.  Six Sigma works great when trying to create lots and lots of high quality microchips, but it doesn’t work as well in value-add service offerings.  Process engineers can fine tune accounting processes but it doesn’t work as well when trying to create a musical.  Traditional process engineering is valuable but not when it is used like a hammer and every aspect of a business is a considered to be a factory/nail.”

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