As A Project Manager, How Do I Convince Management That Scrum Will Boost My Team's Productivity?

How to Convince Management Scrum Will Boost Team Productivity

The most challenging thing about introducing Agile in an organization is convincing the management that it is worth the time and money to begin an Agile journey.

Although practicing Agile via the bottom-up method could work in smaller teams, management support is imperative to have success in larger transformations.

You might have tried bringing up the topic of Scrum implementation before, but chances are, you received some pushback, skepticism and maybe even dismissal from the management. It is easy for us to internalize this issue as management being stubborn, unwilling to change or simply unsupportive.

But, the power of convincing is possible only when we look at things from the perspective of the person we are trying to convince.

What is their ultimate goal as management? What kind of results do they need to achieve? When there is resistance from management to initiate change, our role as the project manager is to understand what their concerns are and show them the proof that Scrum can be leveraged to solve those problems and deliver results that satisfy the management's agenda.

So, how do you explain Agile & Scrum to your management?

First, don't start by talking about how the developers will benefit from Scrum.

If you start selling the idea of Scrum by talking about the benefits for the developers, management immediately starts dismissing the idea because it sounds like you are siding with the team. Some traditional management teams might not be aware that happier teams produce better results. Instead, they feel that maximizing the team’s capacity and working hours is the better result.

But, working hours are not an accurate nor direct measure of productivity!

Hence, to the management, any loss in work hours will result in a loss in productivity, and this is the last thing that they want for the company. Initiating the conversation from the team's perspective will only put you at a disadvantage where you're arguing to make management see your point of view.

You must highlight to the management that business outcomes are the primary focus of the company, not total working hours.

The goal in Scrum is always to deliver work that brings direct value to the company. This is done through prioritization of the product backlog and tying it to the organizational priority. This should align the teams’ efforts and tasks to deliver work that is critical to the success of the organization and eliminate work that is unrelated to the company’s priority. If it does not bring business outcomes for the company, we do not want to waste our efforts on it.

Secondly, hyper-productive teams will deliver better business outcomes.

Scrum uses iterative work cycles to receive feedback from customers and continuously improve the quality of the product. The goal is always to deliver products that customers want while reducing the time it takes for the product to reach the market.

Lastly, highlight to the management that True Scrum generates hyper-productive teams.

By working in iterative cycles, Scrum teams can add new features and requirements to the project at every sprint. Instead of working towards one big product release, we minimize the product’s time to the market and reduce the risk of the project needing major rework.

With these 3 facts justified, you stand a great chance to obtain the support of your management.

One of the most important values in Scrum is to prioritize people and interactions over processes and tools. So, when you think about how to approach management with a change that you want to initiate, the most important thing is to listen to and understand the underlying concerns that they have. Why are they resistant and what are their goals in the organization?

Have you tried to convince your management to run Scrum? What kind of response have you received from management? Try these tips and let us know what challenges you're facing!