Explore topics in Agile Software Development and Scrum to learn more about how these methodologies can improve your products and make the process more efficient. Traditionally, Scrum project management is a software agile development process. Scrum models allow projects to progress via a series of iterations called agile sprints. Each sprint is typically two to four weeks, and sprint planning in the agile methodology and Scrum process is essential. While the agile Scrum methodology can be used for managing any project, the Scrum agile process is ideally suited for projects with rapidly changing or highly emergent requirements like software. Scrum relies on a self-organizing, cross-functional team. The scrum team is self-organizing in that there is no overall team leader who decides which person will do which task or how a problem will be solved. Those are issues that are decided by the team as a whole. The Scrum team is cross-functional; everyone is necessary to take a feature from idea to implementation.
An agile methodology, such as Scrum, is a lighter-weight approach to project management than many of the traditional approaches. Agile methodologies feature selforganized teams that are empowered to achieve specific business objectives. Agile methodologies focus on rapid and frequent deliverables of partial solutions that can be evaluated and used to determine next steps. In this way solutions are built in an iterative and incremental manner. Agile methodologies have been shown to deliver higher-quality products in less time, resulting in improved customer satisfaction. The agile methodology and Scrum process is iterative and incremental, so the project is split into a series of consecutive sprints. Each is time boxed, usually to between one week and a calendar month. One survey found that the most common sprint length of a Scrum agile process is two weeks. During this time, the Scrum team does everything to take a small set of features from idea to coded and tested functionality.
When looking at an agile process it is important to understand that agile is an umbrella term used to describe a general approach to software development. Though there are many agile incarnations, all agile processes, including Scrum, emphasize teamwork, frequent deliveries of working software, close customer collaboration, and the ability to respond quickly to change.
Scrum is one of many agile processes. Agile as an umbrella term that encompasses other processes, such as Extreme Programming, Adaptive System Development, DSDM, Feature Driven Development, Kanban, Crystal, and more we can customize an agile process to better fit our team. We can choose to primarily use Scrum, for instance, but also incorporate some of the desirable features of the other agile processes. For example, many teams that use Scrum also employ test driven development and pair programming, both of which are components of Extreme Programming. The flexibility of the agile processes is a large part of their appeal.
Transitioning to a new process is hard. The benefits of doing so must outweigh the cost. Organizations that have made the switch to an agile process like Scrum will have following benefits, all of which are related and build on each other. For example, higher productivity, higher quality, reduced time-to-market, improved stakeholder satisfaction, increased job satisfaction and more engaged employees. When we able to having more engaged employees it can leads to more productivity gains, initiating a virtuous cycle of continuous development.
In the Agile Development process, Scrum has a role called Scrum Master. The Scrum Master is the team's coach and helps scrum team members achieve their highest level of performance. A Scrum Master differs from a traditional project manager in many key ways, including that the Scrum Master does not provide day-to-day direction to the team and does not assign tasks to individuals. A good Scrum Master shelters the team from outside distractions, allowing scrum team members to focus maniacally during the agile sprint on the goal we have selected. While the Scrum Master focuses on helping the team be the best that it can be, the product owner works to direct the team at the right goal. The product owner does this by creating a compelling vision of the product, and then conveying that vision to the team through the scrum product backlog. The product owner is responsible for ensuring that the Scrum product backlog remains prioritized as more is learned about the system being built, its users, the team and so on.
The third and final role in Scrum project management is the scrum team itself. Although individuals on a Scrum team may come to that team with various job titles, while on the team those titles are insignificant. Each person contributes in whatever ways they best can to complete the work of each agile sprint. This does not mean that a tester will be expected to re-architect the system; individuals will spend most (and sometimes all) of their time working in whatever discipline they worked before adopting the Scrum model. But on a Scrum team, individuals are expected to work beyond their preferred disciplines whenever doing so would be for the good of the team.
One convenient way to think of the interlocking nature of these three roles is as a race car. The Scrum team is the car itself, ready to speed along in whatever direction it is pointed. The product owner is the driver, making sure that the car is always going in the right direction. And the Scrum Master is the chief mechanic, keeping the car well-tuned and performing at its best.
In conclusion, Scrum is the most popular and widely adopted agile method. I think because it is relatively simple to implement and addresses many of the management issues that have plagued IT development teams for decades.