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Best Organizational Scrum Tools to become Agile

Scrum is a brand for Agile software development. Scrum processes entail transparency, team collaboration, continuous iterations and continuous improvement as the best practices for success. The Agile project management methodology stems from the Agile software development movement. Agile software development can be bettered with the help of the Scrum project management tools. Agile project management tools support individuals and teams to get an idea about the amount of work required during each iteration of the project. Scrum tools help users to manage the workflows of the project to reduce time and efforts. This article will provide you an insight into some of the common project management tools that can act as a driver for the Agile teams in achieving their goals. Let’s have a look into it. 1. User Stories: User stories are written by the customer or the end user. User stories are the mediums for the Scrum teams to break down and measure their work. These help to find out the project requirements and work accordingly to traverse the course of a sprint. The big stories are split into smaller tasks. User stories simply follows one template” “As a < type of user >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >”    An example of a user story is: “As a customer, I want order tracking so that I can monitor my purchases” From the example, we can split the user story into two tasks as follows: 1.    Integration with the shipping company 2.    Communication with the seller Advantages of User Story tool:  With the help of this tool, teams can: ●    Create user stories and break them into tasks ●    Assign split tasks within the team members ●    Create time limits(due date) for each task ●    Attach files to the tasks and user stories ●    Assign story points ●    Get an overview of the requirements of the project ●    Prioritize actions and plan their sprints more efficiently Story point estimation is based on the number of team members involved in a story, the skillset of the team members and time required to complete the story. 2. Scrum Boards: Agile software development methodology uses Scrum board tool to track the sprints. Each board contains all user stories for one sprint. This tool act as a ‘visual progress meter’ for the teams. After each sprint, team members can check the Scrum board to conduct a review of the work and the time associated with that work. Accordingly, Scrum teams can improve their work to meet a deadline. Scrum board consists of three stages- to-do, in-progress and done. So, team members can drag and drop the cards at the required stage. Teams can set the deadlines of the task for the teams and for individuals as well, can track the time spent on each task, can set sharing rights for the team members to access the boards from any location.      Advantages of Scrum Boards: The benefits of Scrum Boards are: ●    Managers can track the time used for completion of the task and complete the task. ●    The ‘plan mode’ allows distribution of the workload among the team members when they are not sure about achieving the deadlines. ●    Managers can track the progress of the teams. ●    Remotely working employees can access all project information.      3. Sprint Backlogs: The Sprint backlog is the list of the user stories and tasks which are carried out from the project backlog (contains a list of requirements of the project) and can be completed during each sprint. The Sprint backlogs can be represented under ‘to-do’ stage of the Scrum board.   During Sprint planning, user stories are selected that are moved to the sprint backlog. With this tool, the manager can see the current sprint before moving on to the next sprint, can set alerts for the changes fluctuated in the sprint backlog, and can prevent replication of the data & has different ways to improve scaled sprint review Advantages of Sprint Backlogs:  ●    Managers can keep control over the planning and organize the sprints for the teams. ●    Teams always become updated about all the actions. ●    Replication can’t be possible, which automatically saves time and efforts. ●    Collaboration increases among the team members. 4. Burndown Charts: When the Sprint planning is represented graphically, plotting the total time left in the sprint against the work left to complete the sprint is known as the Burndown Charts. This scrum management open source tool can be very effective for the teams and Managers as well. Below is the diagram for Burndown Chart. where, Y-axis represents total no. of user stories to be completed X-axis represents the time given for each sprint Upward direction shows the added work Horizontal line indicates non-completion of work during that period Vertical line indicates either the task is dropped or not reported Advantages of Burndown Charts: ●    This tool can save timings of the Managers by automatically running charts, instead of creating them manually. ●    It will be easy for the team members to track the progress, rather than finding through e-mail. ●    It makes planning easy for the Managers. Conclusion: These free Scrum Project Management tools can help the Agile teams increase the transparency for more productivity and rapid progress. Teams can increase accuracy by optimizing and  saving time and efforts, and teams can predict the task and the time required to complete that task. These can be the best Scrum tools for the teams to structure and improve their workflow for managing a project in the organization.   

Best Organizational Scrum Tools to become Agile

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Best Organizational Scrum Tools to become Agile

Scrum is a brand for Agile software development. Scrum processes entail transparency, team collaboration, continuous iterations and continuous improvement as the best practices for success. The Agile project management methodology stems from the Agile software development movement. Agile software development can be bettered with the help of the Scrum project management tools.

Agile project management tools support individuals and teams to get an idea about the amount of work required during each iteration of the project. Scrum tools help users to manage the workflows of the project to reduce time and efforts. This article will provide you an insight into some of the common project management tools that can act as a driver for the Agile teams in achieving their goals. Let’s have a look into it.

1. User Stories:

User stories are written by the customer or the end user. User stories are the mediums for the Scrum teams to break down and measure their work. These help to find out the project requirements and work accordingly to traverse the course of a sprint. The big stories are split into smaller tasks. User stories simply follows one template”
“As a < type of user >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >”   

An example of a user story is:
“As a customer, I want order tracking so that I can monitor my purchases”

From the example, we can split the user story into two tasks as follows:
1.    Integration with the shipping company
2.    Communication with the seller

Advantages of User Story tool: 

With the help of this tool, teams can:
●    Create user stories and break them into tasks
●    Assign split tasks within the team members
●    Create time limits(due date) for each task
●    Attach files to the tasks and user stories
●    Assign story points
●    Get an overview of the requirements of the project
●    Prioritize actions and plan their sprints more efficiently

Story point estimation is based on the number of team members involved in a story, the skillset of the team members and time required to complete the story.

2. Scrum Boards:

Agile software development methodology uses Scrum board tool to track the sprints. Each board contains all user stories for one sprint. This tool act as a ‘visual progress meter’ for the teams. After each sprint, team members can check the Scrum board to conduct a review of the work and the time associated with that work. Accordingly, Scrum teams can improve their work to meet a deadline.

Scrum board consists of three stages- to-do, in-progress and done. So, team members can drag and drop the cards at the required stage. Teams can set the deadlines of the task for the teams and for individuals as well, can track the time spent on each task, can set sharing rights for the team members to access the boards from any location. 
   
Advantages of Scrum Boards:

The benefits of Scrum Boards are:
●    Managers can track the time used for completion of the task and complete the task.
●    The ‘plan mode’ allows distribution of the workload among the team members when they are not sure about achieving the deadlines.
●    Managers can track the progress of the teams.
●    Remotely working employees can access all project information.
    
3. Sprint Backlogs:

The Sprint backlog is the list of the user stories and tasks which are carried out from the project backlog (contains a list of requirements of the project) and can be completed during each sprint. The Sprint backlogs can be represented under ‘to-do’ stage of the Scrum board.
 
During Sprint planning, user stories are selected that are moved to the sprint backlog. With this tool, the manager can see the current sprint before moving on to the next sprint, can set alerts for the changes fluctuated in the sprint backlog, and can prevent replication of the data & has different ways to improve scaled sprint review

Advantages of Sprint Backlogs: 

●    Managers can keep control over the planning and organize the sprints for the teams.
●    Teams always become updated about all the actions.
●    Replication can’t be possible, which automatically saves time and efforts.
●    Collaboration increases among the team members.

4. Burndown Charts:

When the Sprint planning is represented graphically, plotting the total time left in the sprint against the work left to complete the sprint is known as the Burndown Charts. This scrum management open source tool can be very effective for the teams and Managers as well. Below is the diagram for Burndown Chart.

where,
Y-axis represents total no. of user stories to be completed
X-axis represents the time given for each sprint
Upward direction shows the added work
Horizontal line indicates non-completion of work during that period
Vertical line indicates either the task is dropped or not reported

Advantages of Burndown Charts:

●    This tool can save timings of the Managers by automatically running charts, instead of creating them manually.
●    It will be easy for the team members to track the progress, rather than finding through e-mail.
●    It makes planning easy for the Managers.

Conclusion:

These free Scrum Project Management tools can help the Agile teams increase the transparency for more productivity and rapid progress. Teams can increase accuracy by optimizing and  saving time and efforts, and teams can predict the task and the time required to complete that task. These can be the best Scrum tools for the teams to structure and improve their workflow for managing a project in the organization. 
 

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KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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1 comments

Renee 20 Jun 2018

Thanks for the thorough introduction of Scrum basics.

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The ART is a long-lived team of Agile teams, which, along with other stakeholders, incrementally develops, delivers, and where applicable operates, one or more solutions in a value stream. A Program Increment (PI) is a timebox during which an Agile Release Train (ART) delivers incremental value in the form of working, tested software and systems. PIs are typically 8 – 12 weeks long. The most common pattern for a PI is four development Iterations, followed by one Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration. Lastly is Program Increment Planning (PI). It is a cadence-based, face-to-face event that serves as the heartbeat of the Agile Release Train (ART), aligning all the teams on the ART to a shared mission and vision. Typically, this is a two-day event bringing together all the Agile teams. Note that that there are four possible SAFe® configurations depending on the increasing complexity of the environment.  SAFe® configurationsEssential SAFe®- contains the minimal set of roles, events, and artifacts required to continuously deliver business solutions via an Agile Release Train (ART) as a Team of Agile Teams. It is the simplest starting point for implementation. Large Solution SAFe® - for developing the largest and most complex solutions that typically require multiple Agile release trains and suppliers but not necessarily portfolio considerations. Portfolio SAFe® - helps align portfolio execution to enterprise strategy by organizing Agile development around the flow of value, through one or more value streams.  Full SAFe® - supports enterprises that build and maintain large integrated solutions which require hundreds of people or more. Multiple instances of various SAFe® configurations may be required.  The SAFe® Core ValuesThere are four core values of SAFe®. They are alignment, built-in quality, transparency, and program execution. It is crucial to understand these.Alignment Scaled Agile uses the example of a car not functioning correctly if it is misaligned. Alignment occurs when everyone is working toward a common direction. It enables empowerment, autonomy, and decentralized decision-making, allowing those who implement value to make better local decisions. Alignment starts with the strategy and investment decisions at the Portfolio level which in turn inform the vision, roadmap, and backlogs. Built-in Quality  Ensures that every element and every increment of the solution reflects quality standards throughout the development lifecycle. Quality is not added later, it is built-in or planned in. (This is a tenet of modern quality thinking, not just SAFe®.) SAFe® Built-in Quality organizes quality thinking around five specific aspects—Flow, Architecture and Design Quality, Code Quality, System Quality and Release Quality. Transparency Transparency – along with inspection and adaptation – is one of the three pillars of Agile. It means that an organization provides open access to the unbiased information and adaptation.  It inspects its work and adjusts it based on empirical evidence. Stakeholders have visibility into the program backlogs, and they have a clear understanding of the PI Objectives for each Agile Release Train. ARTs also have visibility into the team’s backlogs, as well as other Program Backlogs.Program Execution SAFe® places an intense focus on working systems and business outcomes. With alignment, transparency, and built-in quality on the team’s side, the teams can focus on execution.Key areas of competencyAs of this writing, the current version of SAFe® is 5.0. It is comprised of seven areas of competency, all under the heading of Business AgilityEnterprise Solution Delivery Describes how to apply Lean-Agile principles and practices to the specification, development, deployment, operation, and evolution of the world’s largest and most sophisticated software applications, networks, and cyber-physical systems. Large enterprise-wide systems require the full understanding of the system from requirements analysis to deployment.Agile Product Delivery A customer-centric approach to defining, building, and releasing a continuous flow of valuable products and services to customers and users. The key here is customer-centricity. The organization must have the ability to understand the customer’s needs and release on demand.Team and Technical Agility The Team and Technical Agility competency describes the critical skills and Lean-Agile principles and practices that high-performing Agile teams and Teams of Agile teams use to create high-quality solutions for their customers. Lean-Agile Leadership The Lean-Agile Leadership competency describes how Lean-Agile Leaders drive and sustain organizational change and operational excellence by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential. Leaders must lead by example, lead change, and embrace the Lean-Agile mindset. Continuous Learning Culture The Continuous Learning Culture competency describes a set of values and practices that encourage individuals—and the enterprise as a whole—to continually increase knowledge, competence, performance, and innovation. This is achieved by becoming a learning organization, committing to relentless improvement, and promoting a culture of innovation.Organizational Agility The Organizational Agility competency describes how Lean-thinking people and Agile teams optimize their business processes, evolve strategy with clear and decisive new commitments, and quickly adapt the organization as needed to capitalize on new opportunities. Key to this is the ‘dual operating system.’ This is not a computer model but a business model, leveraging the traditional management hierarchy with a Lean/Agile leadership approach.Image SourceLean Portfolio Management The Lean Portfolio Management competency aligns strategy and execution by applying Lean and systems thinking approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and governance.Achieving the Core Values of SAFe® Achieving Alignment   Alignment can be achieved by providing the relevant briefings and participating in PI planning, helping with backlog visibility and value stream organization and coordination. Also, by communicating the mission, vision, and strategy at every opportunity.  Achieving Transparency Transparency can be achieved by openness and visualizing all relevant work, taking ownership for errors, and supporting others who acknowledge and learn from their mistakes. Achieving Built-in Quality Built-in quality is achieved by refusing to accept or ship low-quality work, by supporting investments in capacity planning and by ensuring that architecture, operations, security, and compliance are part of the flow of work.  Achieving Program Execution Program execution is achieved by participating as an active business owner in PI execution, celebrating high quality and predictably delivered program increments and by aggressively removing impediments.ConclusionBusiness Agility is the ability to compete and thrive in the digital age by quickly responding to market changes and emerging opportunities with innovative, digitally enabled business solutions In today’s world, organizations must be customer-centric and must adopt a Lean-Agile mindset to provide continuous integration and continuous delivery. The Scaled Agile Framework establishes a way not only of doing so, but also the flexibility of scaling up to whatever level of adoption (basic to full, complex solution) is required.Lean waste types are Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Unused Talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, and Extra Processing. 
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