So you’ve heard this word, repeated too many times to forget and now you can’t get it out of your head. But what is it? SCRUM, a framework often used in Agile. You are correct that this is not rugby we refer to here, this is something connected in spirit yet unique in its own way. Software development teams need a framework that is adapted to their needs, flexible and efficient to be successful in delivering the tech solutions for business they are tasked with creating. Let’s look more closely at the four reasons why scrum should be the go to for your projects.
Suitable for Complex Projects
Scrum is very effective at assisting teams in completing project deliverables quickly and efficiently. This may seem a given, but in the tech solutions business its importance cannot be overstated. The scrum framework enables the team with superior time management and effective fund management. Being able to properly estimate and control costs is vital to all projects, big and small. Large projects are divided into manageable sprints; that is, a development cycle of 1~4 weeks, never longer than 4 weeks, with some incremental deliverables at the end.
Taking things in this piecemeal approach allows the team to be flexible, agile, and forward thinking focused on the shared vision of the project. Developments are coded and tested during the sprints so risks can be mitigated and any potential problems are addressed as they arise, not leaving them for a quick dirty fix later. The scrum project management methodology is supported by a wide range of tools which allow you to control all processes and stages of the development; for example, Jira is one of the most popularly used project management tools.
Adapted to Rapid Development Projects
Reason number two, as hinted at above, is its ability to adapt to any speed your development project moves at; that’s to say slowly or more often than not, rapidly. When your project must move at a quick pace due to for example requirements or deadlines, scrum is the framework you need. The regular scrum meetings provide clear visibility for the team, allowing for proper sprint planning which in turn leads to a ready and willing team to tackle the tasks ahead. Scrum also uses a daily standup, short meetings designed to improve communication within the team. The 15~30 minute standup is just long enough for team members to share what they’re currently working on and any issues they’re having, sans discussion. It also allows for members to see the efforts of others which is key for a unified team effort.
Other aspects of scrum like the sprint review and retrospective aid in team readiness. The sprint review covers a demo of the current sprint results for the customer and receives valuable feedback therein. The sprint retrospective follows this and allows the team to have an internal discussion as to what improvements the team needs in order to do the next sprint. All of this leads to a ready and able team, more equipped to work at a quick pace when needed.
In the spirit of readiness, we must mention the backlog refinement and scrum’s dedication to keeping it well-groomed and neatly prioritized. The team cannot produce at a fast pace unless things are organized and everyone knows what needs to be done. Again, recall the short cycles utilized by sprint; those cycles, including the customer testing and feedback, enable changes or extension to the product all while maintaining a faster development speed.
High Quality Results
Quality, who doesn’t like it or want it? Rhetorical of course, as we all know everyone desires quality; the best quality they can get for that matter. Scrum delivers stable high quality results at a steady reliable pace. You’re likely thinking, how does scrum ensure better quality than other team management methodologies? Let’s consider the sprint timelines, 2~4 weeks, and don’t forget the level of planning, backlog refinement, customer collaboration, etc.; these unique aspects allow the team to acutely focus on predetermined tasks. Since the sprint is planned in advance, the team is able to avoid distraction from unplanned tasks being suddenly added. Therefore, each increment gets the attention and focus it deserves to be the best version of itself that the team can produce.
The cohesiveness within the team allows for members to share their knowledge and support one another which all lends to improved results. Prioritization made by the Product Owner keeps the team on track allowing for the aforementioned level of focus leading to another key principle of scrum, concentrating on curtailing errors while also identifying issues early. Team member knowledge sharing and openly communicating what’s going on during daily standup makes the scrum work like a well-oiled machine delivering high performance and quality!
Scrum guarantees transparency during all stages of the project. Not to be too redundant, but as mentioned above, daily standup keeps everyone in the know; plus there is a high level of customer collaboration with testing and feedback. This permits the customer to monitor the progress on their product and for team members to actively know the project status… remember Jira? We repeat ourselves here, but the point bears repeating. As does the fact that the sprints are typically 2~4 weeks so customers know exactly which functionalities are currently being worked on and in the pipeline. Being able to see this progress includes seeing potential risks, issues or dependencies on the horizon alerting the team to properly deal with them.
Scrum’s ability to quickly see development effects cannot be overstated. Shall we say, “seeing is believing?” Compared to a longer development cycle where you commonly see issues toward the end, working in scrum you’re operating light years ahead. Sprint review, conducted at the end of each sprint cycle, with the customer, followed by the sprint retrospective both lead to improved planning for the following sprint. Scrums use of development by stages with constant customer feedback in a transparent manner allows for the best final product.
Keeping all parties actively engaged and involved in the development process is necessary, yet often an overlooked point in tech development for business solutions. Often the traditional mentality is to ask for product A and return six months later and receive said product. However, this approach is simply no longer suited in today’s tech industry and business landscape. Business solutions are becoming more complex with unknown needs so it’s only natural that the development process adapts to this and better itself; scrum is a master at handling projects with unknown unknowns, probe-sense-response and emergence practice. So when suited, let’s employ scrum and champion its merits.
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