Scrum is a powerful project management framework that can help an organization fix its project’s problems. Using scrum will help you control your budget and get more value out of individual team members. If you are considering using scrum, this article will enlighten you on the benefits you should expect as well as the downsides of this framework. If you are completely new to scrum, we’ve got you covered as well.
What is Scrum?
Scrum refers to a framework that ensures team members work together. It helps them to learn through experiences while trying to solve an issue. It’s also an agile development methodology that companies apply in software development, relying on incremental and iterative processes.
The scrum process is an easily adaptable, flexible, and effective agile framework whose primary purpose is to ensure the customers get value through establishing a project. It satisfies the customers’ needs by creating transparency in communication, collective responsibility, and progress.
The scrum development begins with a general idea of what a company needs to build and the product backlog that a product owner wants to obtain.
Scrum Methodology and Processes
Scrum methodology depends on a set of defined practices and the roles involved in the software development processes. A company executes the scrum methodology in bits called sprints that ranges from two to four weeks. Every sprint has its entity, offers the complete results, and then gives a variation of the final products delivered to the client.
The process has a starting point and a list of objectives that build the project plan. The client values the objectives while considering a balance of the value and cost. A company has to be agile enough and value the quality of the product they deliver in the market.
Scrum artifacts refer to the tools applied in the scrum to solve a problem. There are three artifacts, and they include:
- Product Backlog
Product backlog refers to a list of the work that a product owner or manager needs to maintain. It relates to the requirements, features, enhances and fixes that act as the input for the sprint backlog. The product owner constantly revises and reprioritizes the product backlog since the items may not be significant as the market changes.
- Sprint Backlog
The sprint backlog lists items, bug fixes, and user stories that the development team selects in the current sprint. The team selects the item they intend to work on in the product backlog. Thus, the sprint backlog can be flexible and evolve in the course of a sprint.
Increment refers to a usable end product from a sprint. For example, a team majorly demonstrates an increment at the end of a sprint demo, and they highlight what they have accomplished during the sprint.
Advantages of Scrum
- Flexibility and Adaptively
The scrum approach best applies in a relatively uncertain environment where it isn’t easy to define the requirement and solutions before starting a project accurately. The scrum team can amend change in any part of the project without affecting the project output. Flexibility and adaptiveness are significant to define the requirements of a project as it proceeds extensively.
- Time to Market
The scrum approach results in faster delivery, thus an early time to market since it takes a short time to startup. Further increase in development also results in more immediate delivery in a solution section without necessarily completing the entire project.
- Creativity and Innovation
The business environment is increasingly becoming competitive, and everyone strives to achieve the best. Scrum emphasizes creativity and innovation; thus, its overall output is always impressive and of excellent quality.
- Lower Costs
The scrum approach lowers the cost by reducing the documentation and controls that aren’t significant, thus lowers overhead costs. It also leads to increased productivity from the scrum team
- Creates Transparency
Scrum methodology ensures the workers adhere to their work and creates transparency among the clients and the company. A minor change in any part of the project is kept visible to every member. Transparency leads to trust, and the company gets more clients to work with.
- Offers Motivation On Multiple Level
The scrum methodology has defined deadlines and expectations. Thus the workers always work hard and as a team to meet their expectations. They also get motivated by the rewards they get from completing a task on time and ensuring it’s correct. Thus the method creates a comprehensive set of knowledge that the team can showcase to a client.
- Ensures Continuous Feedback
The methodology needs daily check-ins for progress reports. The team gives feedback at an individual level. Continuous follow-ups of a project at every level ensure the project becomes better in the long run.
- Compliance of Expectations
A client comes up with a list of expectations and indicates the value against each. Next, he gives the team the list and comes up with their estimations, and the client uses the information to establish his priority. He then verifies that the requirements have been met and gives the team his feedback.
- Timely Predictions
Scrum methodology gives the team average speed by story points, thus making it easy to estimate functionality in the product backlog.
Disadvantages of Scrum
- Doesn’t Bother About the Project Deadline
Scrum methodology only ensures every team member meets their expectations and uses personal deadlines to create a certain amount of work. However, it doesn’t take the project deadline into account, which can delay the work.
- Requires a Team Environment
The scrum methodology requires a team of at least three members and is appropriate for small groups. However, the method doesn’t work very well for more than ten members. That is because more members delay the decision-making process hence slows the work.
- Needs Experience
The members who give feedback to the team need to have relevant experience to deliver it accurately. Lack of knowledge or expertise will automatically break down the entire system.
- Not Appropriate for Plan Driven Approach Projects
Scrum majorly applies to products that don’t require extensive planning and strategies before executing the development process. Instead, it assumes that it can use customer feedback and other related procedures to figure out the product development process.
- Not Appropriate for Large and Complex Projects
The scrum process is most suitable for small and medium-scale projects, and there are scenarios when it cannot apply in large and complex projects. Enterprises adopting scrum at the organizational level may face the challenge of scalability of the scrum. However, an organization can use other scrum models such as Less, SAFe, and Scrum of Scrums for large and complex projects. These models are difficult to implement compared to scrum and require extensive training and knowledge.
- Requires Transformation at Organization Level
A company needs to have changed at an organizational level if they want to get success from the scrum. Thus, it means the business owner and the developers have to collaborate in the sprint. Hence an organization needs to get rid of their barriers which can be difficult to eliminate.
- Hard to Implement Quality
The team needs to go through an aggressive testing process to implement the quality successfully. The scrum process requires significant skills and judgment. The team can only learn the skills on the job, and it involves coaching, which can take time.
Tips for Implementing Scrum Effectively
- Only Dwell on the Work of the Current Sprint in Preparation for The Next Sprint
The discussion should focus on the team members’ work to pursue the team’s sprint goals. They should also discuss the work they anticipate for the next sprint.
- Focus Discussion on What Was and What Will Be Accomplished
The team leader should ask the team what they accomplished and what they will accomplish. The focus should be to ensure the success of the project through combined efforts and teamwork.
- Revolve Around the Task Board
You should allow the team members to point at stories on the task board as they highlight their objectives. That ensures they focus on the sprint and prevents them from going away from the sprint.
- Don’t Show Up
For a case where the daily scrum has changed to status reports, the team leader should take some days off. That will allow the team to report to each other and work towards achieving the objective and being on the same level.
- Set Rules
Ensure only one member speaks at a time and the other members can only interrupt in a case where the member gets out of topic. Every member should be given equal opportunity, which helps create transparency, and each member feels appreciated.
However, the scrum master should be the only one speaking during daily standups. The stakeholders should attend the meeting and only air their views when the scrum master adjourns the session. That helps save time and ensures the meeting doesn’t go beyond the set time.
- Include Remote Workers in The Scrum
The scrum master should schedule the scrum meeting conveniently for every member. He should include the remote members and ensure they also participate in the meeting. For example, he can schedule video chats during the daily standups. That ensures all the members are on the same page, and they get to address any issue that arises.
- Opt for Shorter Scrum Meetings
Long scrum meetings tend to be ineffective. During long sessions, the members may get tired, rumble, and lose concentration; thus, they may not benefit from the meeting. On the other hand, people will concentrate when the session is short and don’t quickly lose focus. The daily standup should last for 15 minutes for it to be impactful.
- Effective Preparation
The members of the scrum should prepare adequately before the start of the standup. The team should answer what they did during the last meeting, what they will do today, and the issue they have at hand. The expectations ensure the members come prepared with answers daily. Reward the dedicated members to motivate them to continue with the excellent work, and this will encourage the rest to work towards achieving their target.
Features of an Effective Scrum
- Sprint Sessions
Sprint sessions divide a team into smaller teams of about 3-9 people who work towards a common goal for either a week or two weeks. They meet at the end of the week and discuss their progress and their achievements. The sessions are usually successful since the planners perform the execution role and update the plan regularly. They also motivate the team to put more effort into the project.
- Display Progress
Large scale project involves a large team working on several aspects of the project. Communication can be a challenge for large groups. However, the team members get motivated when they see the progress of the other teams. Scrum suggests that a company should have a chart for everyone’s work to be visible. The transparency encourages the slow workers to put in more effort and encourages the active workers to continue their hard work.
- Burndown Chart
The majority of the companies apply the traditional progress graphs that highlight the work that the various teams have accomplished. They presume that the charts encourage the employees to work towards achieving their goals. However, scrum applies a reverse technique. The Scrum technique suggests that a company should demonstrate a burn-down chart every week.
The chart contains the number of remaining days and the amount of work pending along the graph’s x-axis. The chart should be precise and show the amount of work done for the employees to plan how they will finish the job.
- Precise Meeting
Most companies hold meetings daily and tend to take long hours, but the discussions do not significantly impact the progress. Thus scrum suggests that companies hold daily meetings; however, the meetings should be held in short intervals. They aren’t supposed to be more than 10-15minutes. The discussions should focus on what happened yesterday, what’s expected to happen today, and what will happen the following day.
Scrum is a simple, lightweight, and adaptable framework that teams can employ to continuously deliver value throughout a project. Scrum offers an excellent way of structuring work, with many advantages. It aims to create working environments where people are productive and happy. Besides, it provides a perfect approach for managing complex projects.