To understand Scrum, think of what could help you code software, build a car, renovate your home, or write a book? Well, a system formed of a whiteboard and sticky notes, or the digital version of it. You also need the knowledge to use them effectively towards the desired goal.
For technology people, words like Scrum and Agile are almost sacred, spoken with reverence and respect, and featuring a unique, almost cryptic language with terms such as sprints, planning poker, or stand-ups uttered by its most avid advocates and followers.
To the dilettante, this enigmatic terminology can be discouraging at first. I know the feeling. When I was first introduced to scrum methodology, I was with a tech business that presented Scrum Agile package to me through the software development guys. It was love at first sight!
I was amazed at how easily our team could seize sophisticated problems, line them up into specific tasks, and ultimately assign them to the team member best equipped to handle them. It was unbelievable to me, and I wondered if Scrum development was for engineers alone.
Could those who aren’t coding magicians understand and use the Scrum process? What is Scrum? Here is a guide that will allow you to understand agile project management with scrum and the language, i.e., better sprint, scrum roles, scrum framework, ceremonies, backlog, etc.
What do Agile and Scrum stand for?
At first glance, the two terms, Agile and Scrum may seem to refer to the same thing in the tech world. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, reading their separate definitions shows that there is one clear characteristic that sets them apart.
Agile project development entails a set of “methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto,” according to the official definition. This comprehensive set may refer to self-discipline, cross-functional teams, and teamwork.
On the other hand, the term Scrum refers to the framework, the scaffold if you want that allows for Agile development methodology to be implemented. Here is an analogy to edify you!
You are a vegan, and you cook vegan recipes. The vegan lifestyle would be the set of practices and methods developed on a set of values/principles, i.e., Agile, while a scrambled tofu recipe would be the framework allowing you to put into practice the vegan lifestyle, i.e., Scrum.
The analogy allows you to get a better picture of the relation between Agile and Scrum, i.e., the relationship between a diet/lifestyle and a recipe you use to implement the diet.
In the 1990s, Jeff Sutherland, the man that was to define Agile and set the basis for the Scrum framework, was feeling exasperated by companies unable to handle their projects on schedule and within budget. His answer? Intensive research to find a solution to the problem.
His research led him to many Japanese companies that could handle a variety of projects on time and within budget by respecting a set of methods ever since the 1970s and the 1980s. These methods became the Agile development methodology while Scrum became to the framework that allowed the application of the Agile methods.
As the new methods experienced more and more success, Scrum became the go-to framework for Agile implementation in the realm of product development.
Who should use Scrum and why?
Who can use Scrum and why would they choose to do so? Well, anyone with a complex project on their hands can use Scrum. The benefits? Scrum orders bulky to-do lists into convenient tasks with more rapid results as well as improved communication and teamwork.
Statistics show that 66% of the frameworks used to implement the Agile workflow are Scrum or alternatives to Scrum. The dominance of Scrum is based on its ability to streamline software development, which has allowed pros across the globe to understand and appreciate its value.
Why should developers use Scrum?
Scrum can work its magic and revolutionize the field of project management irrespective of industry or business. Scrum teaches you how to have fast and accurate reactions when faced with change.
Scrum keeps you concentrated, cooperating, and actively interacting to attain goals in the only possible manner: successfully. So, what is scrum? Scrum is a proven Agile development methodology framework that has been successfully used by a wide selection of teams and projects.
Examples include universities that employ a Scrum team to produce projects for clients. The military arena has used Scrum to get ships ready to be deployed. Moreover, Scrum is currently used by the automotive world to design and develop a safe, fast, reasonably priced, and fuel-efficient commuter car.
The idea is that Scrum can help manage efficiently any complex project, whether it involves logistics management for a depot, the development of a new mobile application, or organizing a fundraising event.
Key Functions for a Successful Scrum Framework
For Scrum to be a successful Agile framework, you need to understand that, as a framework, Scrum is different than the more conventional Waterfall development methodology.
Scrum has three different roles, all of which are mandatory, for Scrum to be successful:
- Product owner
- Scrum master
- Development team: developers, designers, testers, and operations engineers
The Basic Scrum Framework
Starting a basic Scrum framework is not rocket science and doesn’t involve any special training. Scrum is great especially when you are not happy with existing project management methods. There is an official, free-of-charge Scrum guide made available on ScrumGuides.org by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. It’s a matter of dedication and learning inside-outs by yourself.
While learning the ropes on your own and setting the basis for your Scrum network is not a difficult task, mastering the Scrum technique is a different story. A Scrum Master, David Matthew, said about Scrum that “is kind of like poker; you can learn the rules in 10 minutes, but it takes a long time to get great at it.”
The thing is that you don’t have to get to mastership level to use Scrum framework to transform your life into a more lucrative and happier life.
Eight Steps to Start a Basic Scrum Framework
Step 1: Learning the Basics.
Access the official Scrum Guide available on ScrumGuides.org. Read it thoroughly and commit to your memory those notions and roles that are unfamiliar to you. Using a print version that allows highlighting can benefit your learning process.
Step 2: Assigning Roles.
There are three essential roles: product owner, scrum master, and development team. The product owner is the voice of the user and has the final word as far as what the project needs, while the Scrum master guides the team through the Scrum values.
Scrum is governed by the concept of servant leadership, i.e., leave egos at the door when working with Scrum. The leader shares power rather than owns it, unlocking purpose and ingenuity in the team, which results in higher performance and engaged, happy team members.
Step 3: The Product Backlog.
Creating the product backlog is an essential step as it involves ordering by its importance what your project needs. The backlog is also the part that is always evolving, adapting to new needs. It’s never complete. Creating the product backlog is the product owner’s responsibility.
Step 4: Sprint Planning
A sprint is a time-limited cycle during which the team needs to complete a certain number of tasks from the backlog. A sprint is less than four weeks. There are several sprints when it comes to a Scrum-based project.
When planning a sprint, you need to select specific tasks for that particular sprint and assign them to the team member that will be responsible for their completion.
Step 5: The Work Process
Team members have been assigned clear tasks, and the progress of completing that task is reviewed daily. The Daily Scum Meeting should last less than n a quarter of an hour and focus on providing answers to these three questions:
- What part of the task did a team member work on the day before?
- What will that team member be working on today?
- What can be done to assist team members with anything blocking their work today?
Step 6: Sprint Reviews
Work is reviewed at the end of each Scrum sprint. It is the decisive moment when the team communicate the tasks accomplished and review the work done to complete those tasks.
Step 7: Process Review
There is also a retrospective meeting that Scrum entails when the team takes a good look at the work process and identifies solutions to streamline the work process.
Step 8: Repeat the Process
Although this is the last step, it is the beginning of a new work cycle. Once you have completed your first Scrum Sprint, you need to move on to the next sprint by assigning new tasks from the product backlog to be completed by team members.
Now that you’ve understood the Scrum concept, the philosophy behind it, as well as the roles of a basic Scrum team, you can move on to the next level. Continue reading to get a better grasp of how members of a Scrum team work together via Agile ceremonies.
Keep reading to understand how the Agile Scum team can deliver work back to the business!