Scrum is defined as a leading AGILE methodology for completing complex projects. It’s been effectively used by Fortune 500 companies around the World. The Scrum formalization works great for any complex, innovative scope of work with its framework being deceptively simple and easy to adopt. It has gained importance in the IT industry because of its approach on the issues of human agility and return on investment.
The software industry has increasingly become more interested in agile methodologies because it has proven productivity gains with a focus on client-team interaction and collaboration, individual value and contribution to the project along with flexibility to change. The agile methodology’s objective is to provide a streamlined approach for software development with the aim to appraise individuals constructing a team, effective interactions making processes more efficient and certain, client participation and teamwork, active discussions that evidently lead to productivity boost and competence to adapt to the dynamism.
Scrum was developed by Jeff Sutherland in 1993 as a project management framework for incremental product development using cross-functional and self-organizing teams. It uses fixed-length iterations called sprints which are typically 2 weeks to 30 days in duration where teams target to build and release a potential and thoroughly tested product increment in every iteration. The Scrum methodology fuses all development activities including evaluation, requirements gathering, design and analysis, implementation, testing and deployment in each iteration which are executed in fixed intervals.
Scrum is based on following processes:
a) Daily Scrum/ Daily Meetings – Every day at the same time and place, the scrum team members spend a total of 10-15 minutes summarizing their previous day’s progress, what they intend to do today and any impediments or blockers faced. These meetings are kept short and the areas that require further consideration can be discussed later. It is always helpful for the Product Owner to attend the Daily Scrum. It is basically designed to rattle the gray style of working separately.
b) Sprint Planning Meetings – At the beginning of each sprint, the product owner and his team organizes a sprint planning meeting to determine deliverables and negotiate on Product backlog items to be worked on during the sprint. The product owner is responsible for prioritizing the items based on Business requisites and the team selects the amount of work they feel can be successfully implemented during the Sprint. Sprint planning meetings also help to pull the items from product backlog to the sprint backlog. At the end of such meetings, the scrum team establishes its initial list of Sprint tasks and makes a commitment to complete the work.
c) Sprint Execution – When a sprint begins, it is effective to maintain a current to-do task list, a sprint burn down chart and a list of potential blockers. It is also common to recognize additional tasks needed to manage and complete the Sprint goals.
d) Sprint Review Meeting – After sprint execution, a sprint review meeting is conducted which features the live demonstration of the working product increment to the product owner and other relevant stakeholders. The sprint review meeting is an appropriate opportunity to inspect and adapt the emerging product and iteratively refines everyone’s knowledge and understanding of the requirements.
e) Sprint Retrospective Meeting – Each sprint ends with a retrospective where the sprint is analyzed in context of its positive and negative points to create strategies to improve upon the weaknesses. The literature describes retrospective meetings as a series of steps identified as ORID – objective, reflective, interpretive and decisional. The objective of these meetings is to uncover organizational impediments for resolution within the immediate influence.
f) Backlog Refinement Meeting – Most product backlog items (PBIs) need clarity of their implementation because either they are poorly understood or they are too large. In backlog refinement meetings, the team contemplates the effort needed to execute the PBIs and share other technical information needed for their prioritization acknowledging Business commitments.
SCRUM – ITS ADAPTATION
1. Scrum should not be considered as a process or technique for product development, but an incremental structure which can be used with a variety of processes and techniques and in constantly changing work environments.
2. The essence of Scrum lies in daily discussions, regular team interactions where closely knitted multi-skilled team works together; hence it helps to reveal the team weaknesses which need to be corrected to enhance the project productivity.
3. Organizations today are using SCRUM because it helps in the improvement of teamwork, developed products and services, organizational flexibility and user-customer relationships.
4. It also helps in more frequent deliveries adding more value to the client with a focus to maximize the ROI and prioritize the communication and visibility on the project’s progress, so the team would always know their driving path to achieve the objectives scheduled for a sprint.
SCRUM – WHAT IT CHANGES
a) Increases Productivity and Flexibility.
b) Self-Organizing Teams.
c) More transparency and communication.
d) Easy to get project overviews.
e) Easier to predict results and thereby make a reliable release.
f) Follow the rules for SCRUM and understand the benefits before trying to change them.
g) Wrong to attend the daily scrum meetings to ask questions.
h) Gives information/better knowledge about team status. To see exactly where the team is in the current Sprint and listen to what problems they might have.
i) Inter- Department Co-operation – Demos at the Sprint Review give an easy way to follow the progress of other departments.
j) Easier to synchronize once we have agreed on the prioritization.
k) Decreases time from idea to implementation.
SCRUM – THE CONCLUSION
Scrum is a knowledge creating process with a high level of information being shared during the whole cycle and work progress during product development. Scrum has a clear positive effect on synchronization, communication, productivity and transparency at both intra and inter department levels.
With the changing scope, technology, and functionality, Scrum ensures continuous information sharing and feedback which keeps the performance and the trust high. Its application in any organization also generates a strong culture with well-defined roles, responsibilities and relationships.