At the onset of any project implementation, the concerned team has to make a vital decision- “Which development methodology can be used?” This is a serious matter of discourse. If you are working on any methodology for the first time, a clear definition of the development methodology is required. The team members should follow this definition and all its mandates strictly. This is nothing but the best way to organize the working of software development of all sorts. Clearly note that is NOT just another technical approach or simply a style of project management. Going forward, you will often find these terms being used interchangeably, which is downright wrong!
But why are we discussing this?
Because it works just the same way for Scrum.
Even before we start using Scrum, we should learn a little bit about the background of the methodology and understand why Scrum?. Firstly, why it came into existence and what was the problem with the traditional methodologies?
One of the long-lived methodologies is the Waterfall model which had dominated software development up until recently. The primary limitation of this model is the wrong “assumption” that all the requirements are clearly understood at the beginning of the project.
Let us dig a little deeper.
The Waterfall model was formally introduced for the first time in the year 1970 by Winston W. Royce who wrote-
“I believe in this concept, but the implementation described above is risky and invites failure.”
Given below is a quick rundown of the potential drawbacks of the Waterfall model-
Drawbacks of the waterfall:
- In the Waterfall model, we can only move to the next phase once we fully complete one phase. Collecting requirements are the most crucial phase for any project. This can be the most challenging, as customers may miss some crucial details. It is difficult from the customer’s point of view as the customer cannot figure out the sketch of the end product from the requirements document.
- Changes made in the business or project requirements are difficult to update due to this fixed approach. Changes can be done, but not without any important corrections in the timeline and overall budget.
- Finally, user acceptance testing and system testing are done only at the completion of the project lifecycle. The impact of bugs that are identified could be significant and difficult to correct without extending the budget and project timeline. If any bug is identified and fixed at an early stage of the project, it saves not only time but also the remaining code from getting affected.
In reality, the Waterfall model represents the well-defined stages of software development, and each stage must be completed before the next stage can start and there should be no overlapping of the stages. There is also generally a gate between each stage; for example, specifications must be reviewed and approved by the stakeholder before the design phase gets started.
To overcome these drawbacks in the waterfall development model, we adopt Scrum.
Scrum is one of the most popular Agile methodologies evolving in all aspects. It is an adaptive, fast, flexible, incremental, iterative, and effective methodology that was designed to deliver outstanding values quickly throughout a project. Scrum is responsible to maintain transparency of communication throughout the continuous progress of a project.
The entire project is divided into smaller chunks in order to deliver some features to the testing teams before the end of the development cycle. With the Scrum approach, we can deliver small working software product after each interaction and feedback from the stakeholder to increase or change the project according to response. These are the core values of the Agile approach.
At last, the project isn't for us, it is for customers. So they should get what they truly need, and no customer recognizes what they need at the start of a project.
Benefits of using Scrum:
A perfect enabler for organizations, Scrum offers listless benefits to its users. The most important ones are discussed below-
- Scrum makes frequent collaboration among the team members that leads to interpersonal relationships and trust among them.
- Completion of work using the definition of done addresses the development, integration, testing, and documentation with production.
- Conducting daily Scrum retrospective allows the Scrum teams to improve the efficiency of work with Scrum factors.
- Providing quick delivery of software product in short iterations.
- Updating and reviewing according to the client’s requirements.
- Simple in understanding but following the process may be difficult.
- Involving in the sprint review meetings with stakeholder improves the team output.
Benefits using Scrum to a Customer:
It is important to note that Scrum not only serves the respective teams or just the developers but is also of immense benefit to the customers. In fact, it helps generate customer-facing products and solutions.
Some of the potential benefits using Scrum to the customers are as follows-
- Recovers defects in early stages in order to satisfy the customers.
- The Product Owner is responsible for the customer changes to adopt it with better business engagement to satisfy the customer.
- Delivery of short cycles of product results in trust with the satisfaction of stakeholder.
- Quality ensures customer satisfaction that begets benefits of repeat business and excellent references.
Benefits to the organization:
One of the many attributes of Scrum is the range benefits it offers to the organizations implementing the framework. Below is a rundown of the benefits using Scrum at an organizational level-
- Scrum delivers its performance against quality, budget, and timelines that are more important in organizations.
- Better quality leads to the increase of sales, price, and also minimizes negative perceptions in customers and reduces the support cost.
- Early detection of errors in the business case leads to a reduction of work and budget.
- Involvement of stakeholder in sprint review meeting reduces the unpredictable potential issues early in the development cycle.
Benefits to Product Manager:
- Product Manager plays the vital role of a Product Owner in the Agile methodology. He keeps his focus on developing the product.
- The responsibility of a product owner is to ensure customer satisfaction by fulfilling their requirements.
- Planning a project must be more limited and would be done by the collaboration of the entire team. It would be done by the product owner and probably with the help of a Scrum Master.
- Product Manager has to confirm that all the team members have a clear vision of the strategy they follow before they start working.
- Product Manager should get involved in communicating with stakeholders, overseeing budgets and resources, updating as per customer feedback and according to the market value.
- Product Manager prioritizes the requirements to work on it to deliver a successful product.
- Product Manager actively participates in sprint planning meetings. He reviews the user stories before going to sprint.
- Product Manager is also a facilitator and he clarifies every individual doubt in his team.
Benefits to Product Owner (PO):
- Scrum helps the PO manage the progress and status of a product backlog.
- Maximizing product values that result from the work of the development team.
- PO clearly communicates and updates the product backlog items in order to achieve goals.
- PO minimizes the development team’s work and ensures that they are understanding product backlog item.
- Scrum helps the PO to make sure the product backlog is clear to all, visible, and transparent to move to work on the next level.
Benefits to Development Team:
Scrum processes and methodologies benefit the development team manifold. Some of the potential benefits using Scrum are discussed below-
- Enables the development team to work for continuous delivery of potential product in incremental iterations to be done for every sprint.
- Improves the working of the development team through sprint review meetings
- Help development teams which are also cross-functional teams, with all the skills needed to create a product increment.
- Give rise to self-organizing teams to make them choose their requirements in product backlog that makes increment in a sprint.
- Help the development team remove the blockers to meet sprint commitment.
- Aids development teams to manage their work in a skillful and structured pattern results in an improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency.
Financial benefits in Scrum:
We already discussed the benefits using Scrum towards the team and customers. Those benefits are real and significant and they do deliver the desired output. But basic and essential benefits aside, Scrum can also drive high financial benefits for the organizations. This may even include Return on Investment benefits which form a huge part of any organization's decision to commit to budget and scope.
Let us have a quick look at the financial benefits offered by Scrum-
- Getting regular feedback from the stakeholders and customers in review meetings help make early corrections that lead to less cost and lower time consumption.
- If sprint is going to fail, it fails easier within that iteration, results in reduced cost of failure.
- If the execution cost is low, teams improve the margin with resources and reduce the investment.
- Involvement of employees’ efforts produces better results with fewer errors.