Enhance Your Project Management With Scrum Methodology
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. Agile is a project management methodology whereas Scrum and Kanban are frameworks of agile methodology which focus on implementing values and principles of agile.
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 project management methodology, has proven itself countless times. The versatility and simplicity Scrum offers in project management is unmatched and through this Agile scrum methodology, companies ensure that at the end of the project, customers get what they want.
Introduction to scrum methodology
Scrum team works by dividing a long-term complex problem into simple goals. The goals are then assigned to team members who have the required project management skills and competencies 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 planning. 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 project scope can be easily accommodated. This is considered one of the most distinguishing and attractive features of scrum over the kanban.
Who can use scrum?
According to this State of Agile report, 70 percent of software development teams use Scrum board or a Scrum-hybrid approach like Scrumban. While Scrum was primarily developed for software teams, its use has spread to other department functions like IT and even marketing. Its semi-prescriptive nature makes it flexible enough while letting the team deliver continuous improvements in two to four-week sprints.
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Benefits of using the scrum framework
With the Scrum framework, the work is done simultaneously rather than sequentially. Everything is flexible and can be changed as the project progresses. There’s also the aspect of prioritization that delivers tasks that result in the highest return. The framework also gives the development team a higher level of autonomy which results in faster decisions. Teams that adopt the scrum artifacts and the four scrum ceremonies are benefited in the following ways:
- Quicker releases with reduced time-to-market
- Higher productivity
- Improved quality of the end product
- Better client satisfaction
- Improved collaboration between team members
- Greater ability to adapt to changes
1. Sprint Planning
As the name suggests, sprint planning 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.
2. Stand-up Meeting
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 project progress and in identifying any potential problems before they can affect the project.
3. Sprint Review
4. Sprint Retrospective
In sprint retrospective, the participants of the project reflect on their work during the previous sprint and recognize the areas that may need improvement for future sprints.
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Scrum team roles
Similar to any successful project management methodologies, Scrum also has defined roles and responsibilities. This ensures that all team members work smoothly without any problems.
The 3 main roles in Scrum methodology are :
1. Product owner
The scrum 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.
2. The Scrum Master
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 or prioritize tasks. Their main job is to remove any hurdles faced by the team members and ensure that the project runs smoothly.
3. Team Members
They are a group of 5-9 people who hail from different departments and are responsible for completing their individual tasks.
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Through the artifacts of Scrum, the team and stakeholders understand the products and their requirements.
Some of the artifacts in Scrum Methodology are as follows:
1. Product Vision
It deals with the long-term direction of the project management. Each member of the scrum team knows what they are trying to achieve and work together to achieve it.
2. Product Backlog
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.
3. Spring Backlog
It is a list of items/deliverables selected from the product backlog for a certain sprint.
4. Definition of Done
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.
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The Five Values of Scrum
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 5 values of Scrum. Implementing scrum values in your day to day work life can help your team’s performance.
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 prioritized 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 project 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, self-organizing 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.
Implementing Scrum in any project
Implementing the Scrum methodology in your projects by using project management software is not that hard to begin with, and with the introduction of different project 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.
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 project roadmap for everyone to follow.
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It beautifully illustrates the workflow and shows the project’s progress. 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.
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.