August 13th, 2019 • Project Management
When it comes to Agile methodologies, there are several options available, so making the correct choice can be a daunting task. Scrum, the most common approach to the Agile principles, has proven itself countless times. The versatility and simplicity Scrum offers is unmatched and through this methodology, companies ensure that at the end of the project, customers get what they want.
If you are new to project management, you probably have heard of Agile, Scrum, Kanban, and might have made the common mistake of thinking that they are almost the same thing. While all these project management methodologies focus on implementing Agile principles, the way they achieve this objective is completely different.
Scrum project management works by dividing a long-term complex problem into simple goals. The goals are then assigned to team members who have the required skill set to achieve them in an efficient manner. The short-term goals are termed as sprints and the team decides its own sprint length, as long as it is less than a time period of 4 weeks (2 weeks are most common). It is an iterative process in which team members regularly discuss their performance in retrospect and work on continuous improvement.
All the activities in Scrum project management revolve around the sprint. As soon as the project is received, it is divided into sprints and some of them are prioritized depending on their importance. An advantage of the versatile nature of this process is that any changes in the scope of the project can be easily accommodated. This is considered one of the most distinguishing and attractive features of scrum methodology. Some of the common activities are listed below:
As the name suggests, this is the meeting that marks the beginning of any particular sprint. The product owners and team members discuss the tasks and their importance in order to create a priority list. A sprint backlog is created and jobs are assigned to the team members.
This is typically how the day starts for a scrum team member. A brief meeting is convened on a daily basis where all members give an update on the tasks completed in the previous day, their plans for that day, and the difficulties they are facing. These meetings are a great way to keep the whole team informed about the progress of the project and in identifying any potential problems before they can affect the project.
The work completed during the sprint is always reviewed right after its completion. All stakeholders of the project are a part of this and their feedback is taken into consideration.
In this stage, the participants of the project reflect on their work during the previous sprint and recognize the areas that may need improvement for future sprints.
Since Scrum falls under the Agile umbrella, its core values are the same as Agile. However, Scrum also has an additional set of rules and guidelines that are known as the ‘five golden rules of Scrum’.
Collaborations can make or break any project and Scrum principles agree with this statement. In order to improve teamwork and transparency within the members, daily stand-ups are used throughout a sprint. This allows team members to actively contribute to the whole project efficiently and assist each other in case of any problem.
Being busy and being productive are two entirely different things. Scrum agrees with that philosophy and discourages multitasking on the project. All the essential tasks are divided into sprints and prioritized in order to ensure that the present task has the undivided attention of the team. This has shown to significantly improve the overall quality and the required timeframe of the entire project.
It is the team members that decide how much work is attainable in a single sprint. The members must voice their concerns to the stakeholder if the situation demands it. There is no use in agreeing to an unrealistic sprint and then failing to meet the deadlines after it’s too late.
The team must ensure that whatever they agreed to is completed on time. Each sprint demands commitment in terms of both timing and the quality of work.
Scrum methodology requires the team members to be equally respected no matter what their seniority or job status is. Similarly, team members must also respect the product owners and accept the fact that the final authority lies with them. This mutual respect creates a thriving work environment that can work well together to deliver top-quality products.
Similar to any successful management methodology, Scrum also has defined roles and responsibilities. This ensures that all team members work smoothly without any problems. There are 3 main roles in this methodology
The product owners represent the interests of the customer/end-user of the product. They have the job of deciding the priority levels on the product backlogs and be a proxy of the stakeholders.
They are responsible for implementing the Scrum Methodology on the project. Unlike traditional project managers, they do not provide day to day instructions or assign tasks. Their main job is to remove any hurdles faced by the team members and ensure that the project runs smoothly
They are a group of 5-9 people who hail from different departments and are responsible for completing their individual tasks.
Through the artifacts of Scrum, the team and stakeholders understand the products and its requirements. Following are some of the artifacts in the Scrum Methodology
It deals with the long-term direction of the project. Each member of the scrum team knows what they are trying to achieve and work together to achieve it
It is a comprehensive list of all the requirements of a certain project. The backlog belongs to the product owner and he has the authority to change the order according to priority.
It is a list of items/deliverables selected from the product backlog for a certain sprint.
This basically indicates the bare minimum criteria for all the deliverables of the project. An item can only be completed when it meets the predetermined acceptance criteria.
This defines all the completed items during the most recent sprint and the sprints before that. It is necessary for the increment to be completed and in order to do that, it must be ‘done’ in accordance with the sprint team’s definition.
Implementing the Scrum methodology in your projects is not that hard to begin with, and with the introduction of different management tools, the possibilities have become endless. Since Scrum is considered one of the most popular Agile methodology, it naturally has several implementation tools available in the market. Kissflow is the ultimate platform that possesses everything you need to implement Agile methodologies in your projects. It is designed for users who do not understand project management completely but are somehow involved in it. It beautifully illustrates the workflow and shows the project’s progress in different maps, charts, diagrams, etc. If you are responsible for maintaining a single long-term project or multiple projects at the same time, Kissflow is the best option for you. With its simple and understandable interface, the innovative application helps in collaboration between the team members and identifies elements that may cause delays in the execution of the project.
The Burn-Down-Charts are a great way to graphically represent the progress of the project. At the start of the sprint, the chart is at maximum value and then it ‘burns down’ to zero when all tasks are completed. This is a great way of knowing the progress of your team in a glance. It is a standard practice to create an expected burn-down chart in the sprint planning meeting and the team must try to follow it as closely as possible. This ensures that all team members know what is expected of them and where they currently stand.
The Scrum methodology is ultimately designed to make communication and collaboration easier for all parties. Hence it’s not that hard to implement it in your project. Before doing that, you must ensure that every stakeholder is on board and completely understands what Scrum actually is. Make an implementation strategy and build a roadmap for everyone to follow. You are now ready to plan your first Sprint, it is an iterative process and the most recent version will always be better than the previous one. So don’t worry about failing and keep your head held high.