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5 Scrum Tips That Actually Work

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Last updated on
19th Apr, 2021
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31st May, 2017
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5 Scrum Tips That Actually Work

The digital world is evolving at a breathtaking speed with new technologies and trends emerging every year. Concepts that used to be brand-new and cutting-edge yesterday, become obsolete and ineffective today. The traditional project management method (usually called “the Waterfall model”) turned out to be inefficient for web development. Obviously, there was a strong demand for a new planning method, and that’s how Lean Approach was created.

This new approach to web development stands on three pillars: short development cycles, focus on quality, and continuous improvement. These key aspects are perfectly represented in Agile ? the most popular software development approach in the world. Today, it’s difficult to find a web development company that doesn’t apply Agile practices.

Agile is widely used for a good reason: according to the “11th State of Agile” report carried out by VersionOne, the success rate for the projects delivered with the help of Agile stands at staggering 98%!

Software development companies use a variety of Agile methodologies, but the Scrum framework is undoubtedly the most popular of them. The report we’ve just mentioned states that 58% of respondents use the Scrum framework in project management, whereas other practices (Kanban, XP, and others) are less common. Moreover, many web developers combine Scrum with other methodologies.

Scrum is a powerful tool that helps software development companies streamline their workflow and make it more efficient in terms of productivity and costs.

5 Useful Tips to Make Scrum Work+

The adoption of Scrum can surely help your organization develop and launch a successful digital product, but the word “Scrum” alone doesn’t perform any magic. Scrum is a project management framework and, therefore, requires proper implementation. Several serious mistakes may cause project to fail.

There are, however, several useful tips that make Scrum work, so let’s take a look:

Tip #1: Describe the Sense and Rules of Scrum to All Team Members

This might seem like an evident and trite recommendation, but it’s really important. If the members of your web development team don’t fully understand the essence and principles of Scrum, you won’t be able to benefit from all the advantages of this methodology. Instead of collaboration, you might get problems and misunderstanding. Instead of efficient time management, your team might waste time with zero-generated value. What’s the result? Poor productivity.

If you think that training isn’t important, you’re quite wrong: one web development company out of three experiences problems with the implementation of Agile methodologies due to insufficient training. Therefore, train your team properly: they must clearly realize what Scrum is about and who’s responsible for what in this process. If Scrum roles and practices are understood and applied as they are supposed to, your company will be able to leverage smooth workflow and high efficiency.

Tip #2: Stick to the Rules of Retrospectives

Retrospective (also called “retro”) is the core element of Scrum, so it must be held appropriately. Retrospective isn’t just a fancy word. It’s a technique that has its rules. Many Scrum teams turn sprint retrospectives into a meaningless waste of time because they don’t stick to the rules.

Remember that a sprint retrospective gives a Scrum team a chance to improve their workflow. For a typical month-long sprint, a retro should take no more than 3 hours. Spending more time on it is inefficient and counterproductive.

During a sprint retrospective, team members should do the following:

  • Share their ideas about a just-finished sprint (process, relationships, environment);
  • Decide what went well and what went wrong
  • Offer improvements and propose a plan for implementing them.

As a result, your team will define problems and suggest solutions. Don’t forget that sprint retrospectives require the presence of a Scrum Master who moderates the event and encourages the team. Sprint retrospectives help Scrum teams become more efficient and professional.

Tip #3: Avoid Interruptions

Though each Scrum team has a sprint backlog that contains all the tasks for a sprint, there might still be some urgent tasks that interrupt the workflow. Though such interruptions seem to be inevitable, it’s recommended to avoid them. If your Scrum team has to cope with the tasks beyond a sprint backlog, it’ll be less productive and may even fail to deliver an increment of a product at the end of a sprint.

Of course, if there are improvements to the code, they must be done as soon as possible. However, it’s a part of a Scrum workflow. All other tasks, like adding new features to a product, for example, must be reported to a Product Owner who should prioritize a product backlog and decide when these tasks should be fulfilled.

Scrum teams must be focused. Once the team members are forced to shift from one task to another, a workflow stops to be Agile and Scrum doesn’t work. The best solution to this problem is to have an experienced Product Owners who’ll minimize interruptions and manage a product backlog in the most efficient way.

Tip #4: Hire a Skilled Scrum Master

In Scrum, teams are self-managed. However, it doesn’t mean they can manage themselves perfectly well without a Scrum Master. Hiring a skilled and experienced Scrum Master is essential for building a productive workflow of a Scrum team. But why? What does a Scrum Master do?

In a nutshell, the Scrum Master makes sure that a development team sticks to Scrum, its principles, and practices. The Scrum Master manages the team’s workflow: organizes daily stand-up meetings and retrospectives;coaches the team members and removes impediments. Apart from these tasks, the Scrum Master also collaborates with the Product Owner and helps with product backlog management.

Yet, the Scrum Master mustn’t become a boss who gives orders. Scrum teams should remain self-managed and the Scrum Master can interfere and make decisions only if team members can’t agree upon an issue. A skilled Scrum Master will help your development team be focused, productive, and capable of fulfilling the most challenging projects.

Tip #5: Focus on Value Your Team Delivers

Many Scrum teams are focused on velocity, which is an amount of work a development team handles during a sprint. Lots of Scrum teams use story points to measure velocity. Though velocity is, undoubtedly, the most important metric in Scrum, it shouldn’t become a goal for your team. The Agile Manifesto clearly states that working software is more important than comprehensive documentation.

This means that team members should do their best to deliver value instead of chasing after story points. Story points are merely informal agreements on how much effort each task requires, whereas working software is an objective value. Also, development teams shouldn’t neglect code quality. If there’s a choice: more story points per sprint versus better code quality, the priority should be given to code quality.

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Gleb B

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Gleb B is a technical copywriter at a RubyGarage, a web and mobile development company. He likes writing on topics related to software development and digital technologies. Gleb has been in the industry for over 2 years.