When I started my Agile journey, I was very much apprehensive about Scrum, because till now we experienced the comfort zone with the implementation of Waterfall methodology, even if it made us fail! Maybe that’s how we human beings are. We feel uneasy with the new changes around us as that changes need to implement from scratch.
Looking at the market scenario two years back, there was a survey done by Version One which shows, 58% of the organizations adopted Scrum as their framework to work on the products, today, Scrum has expanded in its share in the market and is being widely used, and moreover, teams are now customizing it as per their need. Also, check out the details on Scrum Interview Questions to help prepare yourself better.
Let’s see what is Scrum, exactly – in simple language – it is a way of delivering quality products iteratively and incrementally in a time-box fashion. This is a simple illustration of what the Scrum implementors and others define it, moving with it, why not just explore what they say too-
“Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.”
“Scrum is an agile way to manage a project, usually software development. Agile software development with Scrum is often perceived as a methodology; but rather than viewing Scrum as methodology, think of it as a framework for managing a process.”
Different Roles in Scrum Framework
To set this framework up, we need some roles to support this process, the roles include:
Who is a Scrum Master
The Scrum Master supports the team in boosting and streamlining the processes by which they can accomplish their objectives. They also shield the team from both internal and external interferences.
The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the products produced, they are the owners of the product backlog and make sure that the backlog is healthy and prioritized.
The Development Team
The Development team is one who creates the product as a whole, they are actually involved in the coding, testing, etc, to make sure a quality product is delivered in a time-boxed manner. They are self-organizing, cross-functional teams of people who together are responsible for all of the work necessary to produce a working software or product.
Interestingly, there are reasons behind the popularity of the Scrum framework in the technological market, let us look at some-
First and foremost is, “delighted customers”, so far we have been talking about customer satisfaction but now we are one step ahead and focusing on delivering delight.
Next, on the list is “improved return on investment”. Most of the projects have witnessed reduced costs and faster results, which in turn gives confidence to the clients and upliftment to the teams. These look small when we just talk on paper but these are really big advantages of Scrum that an organization can get.
Though we have talked a lot about the benefits that Scrum provides, one must not mistake this as a magic wand that can cure all the problems. There might be scenarios where Agile is not a good fit for your product. It is really important to understand if Agile is the way to go for your product or not!
There are many scenarios when we can say that Agile is all we need, to quote some, frequent requirement changes, it is not essential to expend months documenting requirements that may or may not result in what the client wants or is looking for.
Next big reason can be, management support for the Agile framework and its philosophy of enabling teams. When we talk about adopting Agile, it is not just a bottom-up approach rather it should go in all directions and be more focused from top-to-bottom. If the top management is aligned with the change and merges it with their goals, it will work wonders!
Now that we have gone past through the evaluation of Agile adoption, let’s move back quickly to the discussion we originally started with – Scrum!!
The Scrum framework is one of the most widely-used Agile development practices, and for a good reason. Adopting Scrum can bring several advantages to your organization, helping to create a more agile, productive, and efficient environment. Here are some of the key benefits of adopting the Scrum framework:
1. Regular Deliveries for Ongoing Improvement
Take advantage of these six Scrum advantages for your software project. It is common knowledge that getting early feedback is essential to the project's ability to adjust to the client's needs. However, frequently, the client merely provides a general idea of what they are looking for, or the specifications are vague.
To have the option of gradually adding functionality to the product, it is crucial to make frequent delivery. Periodic deliveries give us the opportunity for continual improvement while also helping us better manage client expectations and meet their demands.
2. Encouraged Groups to Get Better Outcomes
The ability to provide the team members with a project overview is crucial. In this way, regular deliveries allow them to observe outcomes quickly and convey a sense of advancement. The team ultimately understands the full significance of each adjustment made along the way after several iterations. Every tiny element contributes to a wonderful functioning, and the team is surely motivated to work hard when they see their efforts pay off in the end results.
3. Independence and Strength
The freedom that allows any team member to carry out tasks, so long as they feel capable of developing them, is another feature of this Agile technique to be highlighted. One of the greatest advantages of Scrum is the high level of autonomy the team members gain, which motivates and empowers them to carry out ever-more-complex tasks and allows knowledge to be distributed, knowing that, if it is needed, another team member can carry out a specific task.
4. Communication Process is a Vital Part of Software Packages
Incorporating Scrum as a working methodology has the goal of helping organizations create teams where members work well together. How can we use Scrum to improve team communication? The following procedures are established to do this:
Planning:The tasks that will be a part of the Sprint are evaluated and estimated during the planning meeting. The preparation allows the team to learn about Sprint's goals and essential tasks.
Daily: Given that it draws attention to the tasks in which team members can support one another, it makes information sharing easier and fosters collaboration to boost productivity.
Demonstration: The client meeting is where the specifics are discussed, and the results of the most recent iteration are demonstrated.
Retrospective:The last evaluation of each iteration is when the team assesses what went well and what needs to be improved. The outcomes enable process feedback.
5. Quality Items to Satisfied Customers
Regarding Scrum benefits, the product's quality is at the top of the list. However, with partial deliveries every two weeks, how do we ensure that the product meets high-quality standards?
Metrics are the answer. These are calculated at the end of each iteration and provide us with a thermometer of how far we have progressed in the advancement of the product, enabling us to focus on the areas that need to be improved to give the greatest results.
Then, all team members must consider the metrics while planning the next iteration, in which the team will attempt to resolve any problems discovered.
6. Progressive Growth
A project's success heavily depends on how the client identifies and prioritizes the requirements. The requirements are prioritized and assessed in the Planning meeting, and when the team members have clarified their doubts, the estimating is carried out so that they can be built in the following iteration.
If time remains in the Sprint, the following requirements are examined in order of priority. The activities scheduled during the Planning meeting are taken over as the Sprint moves on. After the Sprint, the team's progress is displayed during the Demo.
What if you are asked to implement Scrum for your product? How comfortable will you be to go ahead with this move? I know you might be thinking of all those points that might go into this, no problem, let’s look at it together. For moving about how to implement Scrum, there are a few pre-requisites which you are already aware of:
Be Ready with your Product Backlog
This is a very essential step in Scrum implementation. To start this up, you have to identify your product owner who can actively work with the Stakeholders and create a product backlog that contains requirements that can deliver value and also are prioritized as per the market need. A Product Owner takes up the ownership of the product backlog. A product backlog usually comprises two kinds of work items:
Epics - High-level requirements that are very coarsely outlined without much detail.
Stories - More comprehensive requirements for what should be done
During the development phase, the teams might encounter some requirements which were not covered in the backlog but are needed, so the team has all the rights to add items to the backlog but only the product can prioritize them.
Let’s Build Our Team
Defining a Scrum team is again a crucial step, as this is the team that is required to work closely bound and deliver a quality product. The team will comprise 5-9 team members which include developers, testers, support, designers, business analysts, etc. All the members of a team will work towards a common goal as set in the commitment.
Usually, we strive for creating a cross-functional and self-organizing team, getting the former is quite easy and doable but don’t worry if making them self-organized is taking time. Don’t panic, it really takes a lot of effort and time to churn out a self-organized team!
Who Will be Our Scrum Master?
So far, we have the product backlog and the team to work on it, but, where is the person who will make all this go smoothly without interruptions, who will make sure the team is encouraged and involved productively, who will make sure the team realizes their potential, (the list is pretty long).
In short, let’s get a Scrum Master. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum team is effective and progressive. The person will help the team in planning the work for the coming sprints.
Time Boxing in Scrum Framework
When we talk about Scrum, we talk about Sprints. A sprint is a time box for the Scrum team to commit and deliver items in a short span of time. It usually ranges between a week to a month, whatever the length has been locked for the team, it stays the same throughout. The Sprint starts with a commitment from a team on the backlog items, they develop, code, test, etc. and provide a demonstration at the end of the Sprint. The Sprint closes with the retrospective ceremony where the team reflects on what went well and how can they improve further.
Get, Set, Go!! – First drive with the Sprint
The Sprint starts with the first gear – Sprint Planning – here the team picks items from the list (typically from the top of the backlog). They set their Sprint goal and start working on the items, during the course of the Sprint, the team will regroup each day for a quick meetup called Daily Standup/Daily Scrum to talk about their progress and if there’s anything blocking their path of delivery.
Once in a while, they will stop by, to talk about the next inline items for the upcoming sprint which is called Backlog Grooming/Story Time. On the closure day, the team will demo the items they have worked on to the Stakeholders or the Product Owner. The Sprint gets over with the last regrouping called the Retrospective where they inspect how they did and work on the ideas to make it better by adapting to it.
How We Did do on the Numbers
It is really important to measure our successes and failures, it gives us a chance to improve. This applies to Scrum as well. Here, we talk about our burndown charts, yes, these charts can be compared to the ultrasounds or the X-rays we have, they show how we did as a team, and anyone can read out the issues and the brownies from our charts. The Scrum Master can understand, just by looking at the burndown, how the team did, the scope change, the blockers, and how the team adapted to the new environment. It should be one of the goals for a team to reach Zero by the end of the Sprint in the chart.
Overall, I can say, Scrum is really effective if implemented with the right spirit and a focused direction. There’s a Scrum implementation plan which has to be laid out. We have many success stories where Scrum helped the teams deliver the products on time with customer delight. The dynamic participation, teamwork, and collaboration in Scrum Teams make for a more pleasant place to work, and most importantly if your teams are happy, they will go to any lengths to make your customer happy.
I have been working with the Scrum teams for the last 10 years and I must say, they are more contented. So it’s not just about the product or the organization, it is also about the ‘PEOPLE’, it is about us! Master Scrum and learn more about the Scrum roles and processes to deliver the best to the users. Be a better Scrum Master with our Agile and Scrum online practice test!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are the 3 pillars of scrum implementation?
The three pillars of scrum implementation are transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Transparency involves open communication and visibility of progress. The inspection involves constantly reviewing and assessing progress. Adaptation involves making changes and improvements based on the feedback from the reviews.
2. What are the 6 principles of Scrum?
The six principles of Scrum are Empirical Process Control, Self-Organization, Collaboration, Value-Based Priority, Time-Boxing, and Iterative Development.
3. What is the 80/20 rule in Scrum?
The 80/20 rule in Scrum states that 80% of the work should be completed in the first 20% of the sprint. It means the team should focus on getting the most important tasks done first, then move on to the other less important tasks.
4. Can daily Scrum exceed 15 minutes?
Daily Scrum can exceed 15 minutes depending on the size of the team, the complexity of the tasks, and the amount of discussion necessary for the team to move forward.
Deepti is an Agile Coach by profession and Freelance Trainer with over 11 years of industry experience working primarily with healthcare & finance clients in delivering business. She has played a wide variety of roles in the graph of her career, whether it be, management, operations or quality. She likes reading fiction, management and loves to write her experiences. Her colleagues mostly describe her as very detail oriented person with a knack of creativity and imagination. And yes, she loves feedback more than her coffee!!
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