I recently sat down with American Fidelity Colleagues Heath Wiederstein and Kim Eckley to talk about their jobs, Agile, Scrum, stand ups and sprints. Say what?
Heath and Kim work in ISD, AFA’s Information Services Division. They work on the project management team, which uses the Agile value and principles to manage projects. Agile helps drive results by delivering incremental releases of software functionality so Customers receive the highest value pieces first.
For example, the Standish Group reports that only 20 percent of features/functions are often or always used in the typical system. Agile devotes resources to developing those functions and not on the 80 percent that is only sometimes or rarely used.
So how do they do that?
We use Scrum to deliver Agile results. Scrum involves finding clarity on what those top 20 percent functions are so that they are delivered first. To do that, Heath and Kim work closely with the stakeholders to determine their needs and priorities.
Once a plan is created, Heath and Kim use Scrum techniques to drive project focus and delivery. Teams typically have daily stand-up meetings to quickly update their team members on the progress made the previous day. These focus on the current “sprint” goals – a period of time typically one to four weeks at the end of which we deliver of something of value, such as working software.
What does a typical day look like for Heath and Kim?
Heath and Kim spend their time facilitating meetings, developing project plans, tracking progress, and coaching others on Agile/Scrum methods.
Occasionally, they also spend time speaking at conferences and working with other Oklahoma City companies to help them implement the Agile/Scrum methods. Recently, two out-of-state companies contacted them for assistance and they are also working to bring an Agile conference to OKC.
What about you?
Does your company use Agile/Scrum? What questions do you have about the process?