Explaining SCRUM Basics to Customers – Part I

This week I explained to a customer – what is SCRUM and how to we plan to use it to manage the project [that was currently in progress]. It was the first time someone did this in our organization. However, it was smoother than what I imagined. The customer was more than forth coming and wanted to start with the process right away.

All references to the project and client name have been changed.

Customer says:
what did you have in mind?
Vik says:
We would like to follow SCRUM for Project Management from next week starting with Phase III specifications
Vik says:
you actually have already taken the first step without us asking for it
Vik says:
that is prioritizing the work for us
Customer says:
yes I like the SCRUM model
Vik says:
I think you are familiar with this model – right?
Customer says:
yes
Vik says:
ok – so what we will be doing is giving you a detailed breakdown of list of work to be done for Phase III
Vik says:
please note that this would not cover the work already ongoing on phase II items like labels etc.
Vik says:
which we hope to complete by next weekend
Vik says:
however, we would be starting with work on Monday on Phase III as per priority set by you
Customer says:
ok
Vik says:
we will then track the work on this backlog of work
Vik says:
and visit this once every weekend
Vik says:
or whenever we decide to
Vik says:
and track which items are “done” and which are pending
Vik says:
and then again re-prioritize it on this day
Vik says:
because the priority is not always set and we “might” add more items to the backlog – for instance, the events/ reporting functionality might be higher priority two weeks from now than anything else
Vik says:
does that make sense?
Customer says:
yes it does – I like this model
Vik says:
ok – here are some things which you might be interested to know about”;
Customer says:
ok
Vik says:
1. you can add any item to the backlog at any time
Vik says:
2. however, we will change the priority only when we visit the backlog – this ensures that whatever we take up we complete fully and then move on
Vik says:
3. backlog can have items like “data should be preserved when implementing new functionality”, “the speed should be 1-2 seconds on 56k modem” etc.
Vik says:
4. in rare case if we need to re-prioritize earlier, we can cancel our work and start afresh [however, because we are visiting the backlog once every week – this should not really be the case]
Customer says:
ok
Vik says:
daily status update would be provided to you by team on what they did
Vik says:
also – the detailed task breakdown for the work would be sent to you for each week
Vik says:
I think its important we follow a structured approach because project is now on a critical stage and we need to optimize our growth from scalability, fast turn around times to opportunities and also maintaining a good/ clean code
Customer says:
I totally agree
Customer says:
I think that this is a great approach for V3
Vik says:
Do you have any questions?
Customer says:
not at this time….
Vik says:
ok – if you were to have any questions – please let me know
Vik says:
I am starting a new thread “SCRUM and Project”
Vik says:
in case any one has any questions – you can post them there and I will respond within 24 hours
Customer says:
perfect
Vik says:
however, please note that this calls for a commitment from your side to be available for a weekly chat
Vik says:
this is over and above our other chats we will have
Customer says:
of course – I will definitely make these chats
Vik says:
Thanks Customer. I really enjoyed last 11 months with project and I am sure we would be making a great product in future. At our end, we are committed to help you build a truly world class product.
Customer says:
I am fully aware of that – project is coming along great – we are all very excited about it
Customer says:
Thanks Vik – I look forward to the next level of v3.0 and beyond
Vik says:
Thanks Customer – we are all excited about it as well
Vik says:
Good day ahead
Customer says:
talk to you soon! Thanks Vik

How impressed and excited the customer was evident from the note that he sent us later in the day – “I forgot to ask you guys what day do you think would work the best for us for our weekly meeting?”

What I tried to do was keep this simple and away from jargon. I exposed him to terms like Project Backlog but that was it. There was no mention of Sprints, Sprint Backlog, Burn Down Charts, User Stories, Velocity etc. I think we would need to introduce these terms slowly. It is looking exciting over here.

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