Questions and Answers from the VersionOne Webinar – Part One

On May 30th, 2012, I participated in a webinar hosted by VersionOne. During the webinar, I walked through our Agile transformation journey at Cars.com, how and why we selected an agile work-flow tool, and how we are currently using VersionOne.
The presentation ran a little long so the time for questions and answers was quite short. Many great questions were submitted through the chat function during the webinar so I will try to respond to as many as I can over a series of blog posts.  Here is the first batch:

What is your Scrum Master to team ratio? PH

We have 7 Scrum Masters spanning 12 dedicated product teams so each Scrum Master has two teams. We are running our intern program using Agile and another Scrum Master is working with our Ops team to implement Kanban to round the number out to 14. Two teams per Scrum Master feels about right for us.

What about employee recognition/performance reviews? What changes were made in this area during the transformation? CM, Development Manager

Great question. We did not include human resources in our Agile transformation but I wish we did. We are still using a typical performance management approach used by many companies which rates people on a 1 to 5 scale. I talked about how I handled this with our Scrum Masters in a blog post but this will need to be addressed in the future.

Does Cars.com use an in-house installation or SaaS implementation of VersionOne? KK

SaaS.  No issues.

What are some of the names of your communities of practice? AC, Senior Project Manager

Every role in our framework has a community of practice so the communities are named after each role (i.e. Developer CoP, Architect CoP, Product Owner CoP, Scrum Master CoP, etc.) You can read about how we started each community of practice here.

What is the typical timeframe in your opinion of “second stage” in an organization of 100 resources of a product company? IL, General Manager

Our phase two lasted around three months. Our agile coach, Si Alhir (@SAlhir), always quoted Leandro Herrero of Viral Change (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pNsgyFJNYU): “A consultant that can’t facilitate visceral and sustainable cultural change in 6 months is not worth the money!”

Did you feel that having a coach was crucial to your transition? AM

Yes. He brought a wealth of knowledge and experience having coached and guided many organizational transformations in the past. He was able to deliver honest and direct messages that would have been challenging for an employee to deliver. Our coach also brought a proven approach to guide us along the way.

If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Questions and Answers from the VersionOne Webinar – Part One

  1. Excellent presentation! Thank you!
    Some very good ideas, and the sketches were the cherry on top.

    As one that’s been promoting Agile within the organization – I believe I benefited from this!