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The A to Z Of Scrum Project Management

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Have you heard of Scrum methodology? Many in the field of digital project management may have heard about the term and its application in various fields like project management, marketing, and so on.

A report released by Project Management Institute (PMI) has revealed that at least half of the project managers that make use of the Agile framework also use the Scrum methodology. Moreover, another survey conducted by the same association also shows that a combined total of up to 55 percent of successful organizations ‘often,’ ‘sometimes,’ and ‘always’ use Scrum.

So, if you are still in the dark about Scrum methodology, you are in the right place. In this post, you will learn everything that you need to know about the Scrum methodology.

What is Scrum?

Scrum, as defined by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber – the developers of Scrum – is a management framework that employs incremental processes within a much larger framework and leverages cross-functional teams in order to accomplish their goals in addition to adapting to changes. The primary objective of Scrum is to fully and quickly establish small pieces of a specific release instead of focusing on all the smaller steps that usually takes place within each iteration and sprint.

Taking advantage of Scrum project management brings about lower costs of development, more considerable responsiveness to customers, job satisfaction, and immediate results. Scrum is somewhat like a fluid practice instead of a linear process which typically takes several moving teams, goals, and parts into consideration as it progresses.

What is more, Scrum provides a highly targeted structure with the support of 4 ceremonies which are:

  • Sprint demo
  • Sprint planning
  • Sprint retrospective
  • Daily standup
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This makes the structure a prevalent and highly efficient process.

A brief history of Scrum

1986 : Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi, two Japanese business experts, were the first individuals to conceive the term ‘Scrum’ when they published an article titled ‘New Product Development Game’ in the Harvard Business Review.

It was referred to as a ‘rugby’ style approach to product development in which the entire team moves ahead while passing the ball to and fro.

1993 : This was when the first full implementation of Scrum took place. Jeff Sutherland, John Scumniotales, and Jeff McKenna brought Scrum into play at Easel Corporation.

1995 : Ken Schwaber and Sutherland ended up turning Scrum into a formal process when they presented a paper titled ‘The SCRUM Development Process’ at the Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications (OOPSLA) Conference ’95 in Austin. This was the first time Scrum will be presented to the public.

2001 : Schwaber and Sutherland together with 15 other software developers started drafting Agile Manifesto which eventually became a prominent medium for many software developers around the world to pursue a different method or process of creating software doggedly. Schwaber founded the Scrum Alliance the following year.

2002 : Schwaber established the Scrum Alliance and started providing certification in numerous aspects of Scrum which came with a Scrum Master certification. And till date, over 100,000 individuals have received the Scrum certificate.

2016 : This was when Scrum officially became formalized. Scrum ultimately works out the requirement of distributed teams and two product owners. This has led even more organizations to structure their team on Scrum willingly.

How does Scrum work?

If you are wondering and asking the question, ‘how does Scrum work?’ then here is the answer.

Scrum, as a process framework, employs small teams to develop products. It uses iterative, integrated, and lightweight development, just like other methodologies of Agile like Kanban and XP.

Scrum is much more like a mindset or approach than a specific technique. It is well known for initiating working relationships that assist many different individuals in managing or handling complex projects in a coordinated way. These relationships are categorized into artifacts, ceremonies, and roles.

Scrum is more about promoting self-organization in place of hierarchy and offer teams the liberty to carry out their own work. And this is the #1 reason why interactions of Scrum team stands solidly on three major pillars which are:

Inspection

Every Scrum event presents the unique opportunity to evaluate the process as well as its progress for improvements.

Transparency

Every significant aspect of the project must be crystal clear to every member of the team or individuals responsible for the final result. Well-trained Scrum teams always ensure they share relevant information from time to time.

Adaptation

All the adjustments or modifications are made accordingly.

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When should you use Scrum?

You can use Scrum for projects that are easy and flexible but well-defined enough to achieve targets and hit goals that the customer and stakeholders have set.

Scrum can be determined by its sprints so that it can best be utilized for the kinds of projects that would gain benefit from never-ending re-evaluations of goals, tasks, and roles of the team.

Scrum comes with a set of formal roles that gives structures to projects and still has enough room for approving any shift of assignments that are primarily based on timelines that keep evolving out of the process.

You can also use Scrum for projects that:

  • Have a cross-functional team
  • Requires quick feedback loop
  • Makes use of feedback obtained from stakeholders in order to prioritize the next sprint
  • Have stakeholders who keep changing their minds often
  • Do not receive so many interruptions from daily business.
What are the principles of Scrum methodology?

If you plan to implement Scrum methodology properly, then you need to follow its core principles to the letter. Some of these concepts are duly applicable for Agile, while others are unique to Scrum.

Here is a breakdown of all the basic principles of Scrum methodology:

Prefers working software to all-inclusive documentation

Scrum methodology centers more on creating shippable products as against spending copious amounts of time on writing down various requirements. The time-boxed sprints of work in this methodology run with increments that are shippable and which are produced at the very end of the sprint.

Individuals and interactions more than processes and tools

Scrum methodology focuses much more on individuals and interactions more willingly than the processes and tools. Communication plays a much bigger role in this framework than processes do nothing but run the project.

Collaboration with customers more than the negotiation of contracts

Scrum methodology always values collaboration with customers as it has regular and consistent client involvement. And throughout the whole process, i.e. from beginning to the end, the client is heavily and wholeheartedly involved.

An effective response to a change more than merely following a plan

Scrum methodology doesn’t regard change as an enemy; on the contrary, it sees change as a very good thing. Scrum is all about embracing change constantly along with evolving requirements.

The 3 elements of Scrum methodology

Scrum elements or artifacts are vital as they communicate essential information to the Scrum team that they must remain aware of during the development of the product.

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Product backlog

This is another effective technique in SEO optimization. One of the ways search engines like Google rank sites is through a network of links from external websites also known as backlinks.Product backlog lists every one of the features, functions, and requirements of the product. It must be noted that changing the requirements of the product during development is not strange as it is something that is commonly carried out.

This usually happens in order to reflect the needs of the business or market trends. To reflect such changes, however, the product backlog will continually update itself from time to time.

Sprint backlog

This refers to the product backlog items that have already been selected for the sprint. This usually includes a worked-out plan for the production of an increment as soon as the sprint ends.

The sprint backlog gives an indication of the amount of work that the development team will have to do in the next sprint. Moreover, it defines the terms required to produce increments that meet the done' definition.

Product backlog item

This refers to the items that a product backlog usually consists of. These items give details on the changes that must be made for the desired outcome.

A very simple way to express the desired outcome to the development team is via 'user stories'.

Scrum methodology and its numerous roles

Scrum methodology, as pointed out earlier, is generally defined by the numerous roles in which some members are designated with a specific part of the process in which certain variables are supervised. And then they will be able to contribute at the end of the product

Some of these Scrum roles consist of the following:

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is fully responsible for leading the Scrum team. Their role is to ensure every member of the team readily understands all Scrum principles. They are also responsible for guidance and teaching whenever necessary.

The Scrum Master is a leader that leads the entire Scrum team through the daily Scrum. Nevertheless, it is highly crucial to point out that the Scrum Master is not the ultimate leader of the entire Scrum team. The Scrum Master is also not directly responsible for the outcomes as it has been stated that the entire Scrum team takes full responsibility for the end result, irrespective of what it may be.

The Scrum Master works with the Product Owner in order to ensure that the project remains on track. They also handle the following tasks:

  • Optimize Product Backlog Management
  • Organize Scrum events
  • Help the Scrum team to understand the requirements of concise product backlog items fully.
Scrum development team

A Scrum development team is a group of highly skilled professionals directly responsible for the delivery of a release increment of 'Done' after every print is completed.

Here are some remarkable features of the Scrum development team:

  • Scrum development teams are generally cross-functional. They require all members to possess creative skills to develop an increment.
  • Development teams are usually great at self-organization. And this is because no one in the Scrum team – along with the Scrum Master – is permitted to inform the team about how to turn the Product Backlog into Increments.
  • The Scrum team takes all the responsibilities for both the success and failure of the project. Therefore, even if the development team misses out on a particular Increment right at the end of the sprint as a result of an error by a single member, it will readily accept the responsibility altogether.
Product owner

The product owner represents the business or customer base, and their primary purpose is to ensure that every member of the Scrum team does not forget the #1 objective of the print.

Product owners generally possess an excellent understanding of user’s needs since they have a wide variety of prospective business users and customers.

The product owner also prioritizes the requirements and features of the product to the development when every sprint starts. Their job is to provide valid answers to all the questions presented by the development team as regards specifications and requirements.

It is essential to note that the product owner is never directly involved with the process of development whatsoever.

Pros of Scrum methodology

Easy accommodation of changes

Short iterations and constant feedback make it easy to accommodate changes. Moreover, continuous reflection on sprints, along with work execution enables refinement during Scrum meetings.

Accountability

Every member of a Scrum team collectively decides the task or work they are going to complete in each sprint. All the concerns and opinions are raised, listened to and resolved throughout each step.

It must be mentioned here that there is no single project manager that directs the Scrum team. This means there is enhanced collaboration and empowerment across the entire team.

Cost savings

Scrum results in lower expenses and increased quality of products as all the issues and changes are addressed in such a way that they remain communicated and visible as soon as they arise. Short sprints readily break down the entire process into small fragments where every mistake is easily rectified on time.

Enhanced project transparency and visibility

Scrum methodology eliminates all kinds of problems and misunderstanding with daily meetings, routine check-ins, along with well-defined roles that offer great insights into the project for the team.

All issues are identified in Scrum before they pose a threat of causing delays which helps teams to keep time in check and processes in motion.

Cons of Scrum methodology

Requires experience and commitment

Scrum teams are generally small, which makes it easy to assign well-defined roles to each member. However, it is a strict requirement for members of Scrum teams be experienced and incredibly familiar with all Scrum principles.

Team members with less tech knowledge and commitment can create lots of problem for other members of the team.

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Scope creep

In Scrum methodology, the goals are usually fluid, and changes are often openly encouraged. However, scope creep can be a problem. In most cases, stakeholders try to forcefully introduce more changes in the overall goals and process rapidly and regularly by adding even more functionality.

Difficulty in managing a large team

It is often challenging to manage large teams with Scrum because it is designed for small teams. All the processes, roles, and elements or artifacts are only made by keeping small teams in mind.

Summed up briefly, Scrum methodology is all about ensuring that your team works seamlessly on worthwhile projects in a sustainable manner. The intense work may get to you at times, leading to frustration. But in the long term, it will provide users with ensured productivity.

The next time someone asks you ‘What is Scrum?’ or ‘How does Scrum work?’ you already have the perfect answer!

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