If you work in a software development company or any project-oriented enterprise, you have already heard the word SCRUM or Agile. By mistake, many people say Agile instead of scrum.
Just for clarification: scrum is agile, but agile is not only scrum. If you want to know about Agile, take a look in this post. Here I will answer six questions that will help you understand what is scrum.
What is scrum?
The first time the word scrum in project management was heard was in 1986 when two researchers Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka wrote an article comparing the importance of working as a team in a complex development environment with the rugby game model.
But it was in 1995 that two other researchers, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber developed this method for developing software currently known as scrum (that’s right … all in lower case. Scrum is not an acronym). Currently, the use of scrum has already extended to other areas besides software development.
Scrum: A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.
In general, scrum is a model or framework. It is not a process. Scrum is based on adaptive processes based on three pillars:
- Transparency: provides great visibility to the most important aspects of the process
- Inspection: periodic checks (with defined time) to validate the objectives and identify deviations
- Adaptation: adjust the process as quickly as possible to reduce deviations from the objective.
WHAT ARE THE ROLES IN A SCRUM TEAM?
A scrum team is made up of 3 actors: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the Development Team.
- The Product Owner (PO) is the single person responsible for the success and for maximizing the value of the product. The PO is the main point of contact between the customer and the Development Team. The PO is responsible to set and prioritize items to be developed.
- The Scrum Master (SM) leads the organization and the team in its efforts to adopt scrum. It helps the team by coaching and ensuring that all scrum processes are implemented correctly.
- The Development team (DevTeam) are the experts responsible for delivering the product and managing their efforts. DevTeam should be cross-functional and self-organized. There are not titles for DevTeam. The DevTeam size should be between 3 and 9 resources. The PO and the SM are not included in this count.
WHAT??? There’s no project manager in scrum. Yes…that’s right… if you see a scrum team with a project manager, it’s not scrum.
Do you know why? Let your opinion below in the comments.
What are the scrum events?
In the framework scrum, there are 05 events to create regularity and to minimize the need for meetings. All events are time-boxed, which means that these events have a maximum duration.
- Sprint: it’s the heart of scrum. A sprint is when a product increment is created. An increment is a useable and a potentially releasable part of the final product. Sprints are timeboxed for one month or less. Each sprint has a goal of what have to be built.
- Sprint planning is the event where the scrum team define what will be delivered in a sprint. This event is time-boxed to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month sprint. In the sprint planning the scrum team will define what can be delivered at the next increment and how much work is needed to achieve this goal. The main input of this meeting is the Product Backlog where the Product Owner and the DevTeam will choose which items will be included in this sprint to achieve the sprint goal.
- Daily scrum is a 15 min daily meeting for DevTeam where they will update the working status and plans for the next 24 hours. This meeting is used to inspect the sprint progress status. At this meeting, each member of the DevTeam will answer the following questions:
- What has been accomplished since last meeting?
- What will be done before next meeting?
- Do you see any impediment that prevents you or the DevTeam for meeting the sprint goal?
- Sprint review is used by the scrum team to present and inspect the increment at the end of a sprint. It’s time-boxed to four hours for a one-month sprint. This meeting is intended to get feedback and change requests from the customer and stakeholders. Only items considered as ‘done’ are included in the sprint review.
- Sprint retrospective is an event intended to process improvement. The improvements could be in relation to people, relationship, process and tools. It takes three hours for a one-month sprint.
What are the scrum artifacts?
There are three official artifacts in scrum and one definition:
- Product backlog is an ordered list of everything that might be delivered in the final product of the project. There’s only one Product Backlog to describe the product or service delivered by the project. Each item in the product backlog represents a User Story. Each item is evaluated in terms of the benefits and work to be completed. The PO is responsible to maintain the Product Backlog updated and prioritize all items keeping the more valuable on the top of the list.
- Sprint backlog is a set of the Product Backlog. It’s a list of everything the DevTeam commits to achieve in a sprint. Items in the Sprint Backlog should have the same order they have in the Product Backlog. This list is created during the Sprint Planning.
- Increment – Increment is a sum of all completed Sprint Backlog items at the end of a Sprint. Each item must be considered ‘Done’ and be releasable.
- Definition of ‘Done’ is used for the scrum team to assess when an item is completed. Each scrum team have its own definition of ‘Done’. No item is included into the increment if it’s not done. A variance of definition of ‘Done’ is the definition of ‘Ready’. We call ‘Ready’ all items in the Product Backlog that are ready to be included in the Sprint Backlog.
Why is so hard to adopt scrum ?
Transitioning to any agile framework is not easy. It’s a major change in terms of process, culture and resources. Many companies fail when they try to adopt scrum due to lack of knowledge and support.
Here are some of the main reasons why adopting scrum fails:
- A successful change is not entirely top-down or bottom-up
- The end state is unpredictable
- Scrum is pervasive
- Scrum is dramatically different
- Change is coming more quickly than ever before
- Adopting best practices is dangerous for agile mindset
Despite all these challenges, the adoption of an agile model, and particularly of the scrum, is a useful option. After all, there are no rewards without a price to pay.
How to adopt scrum in my company ?
To answer this question, you should first answer two other questions:
- Should I start with small teams or go all-in?
- Should I announce or should I keep this change secret?
Based on your answers you have the following advantages:
- Is less expensive
- faster success is almost guaranteed
- lower risk
- less stressful
- go without reorganizing your enterprise
2. Going all-in
- Will reduce the resistance
- Will avoid problems by having scrum and traditional teams in the same environment
- Transition will be faster
3. Sharing the change
- Everyone knows what is happening so it`s more likely everyone accepts
- You will be able to set a vision of the change
- Everyone knows your commitment
- You can ask for help or support
- Achieving your goals will send a good message to everyone
4. Keeping in private
- You can progress without much resistance
- Working in secret reduces the pressure for results
- Nobody knows until you tell them
- If nobody knows, nobody can tell you what to do.
No matter how you go about it, always keep in mind that adopting the fray involves a major cultural change. You will not get results immediately. Have a good strategy, stay surrounded by good professionals and don’t give up.
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