If you are working in the tech industry or have knowledge about it, you must have come across the terms ‘agile project management’ and ‘scrum methodology’. After all, these are the methodologies most of the software development companies are adopting right now to increase productivity and transparency, while at the same time decrease wastage and address customer’s issues quickly.
Before going into details about the benefits of Scrum and Agile project management, we first need to know what they are.
Agile project management is an iterative approach to managing software development projects that focuses on continuous releases and incorporating customer feedback with every iteration.
Contrary to the waterfall project management which focuses on ‘big releases’ agile focuses on small timely releases with fixing issues and thus helps software teams collaborate better and innovate faster than before.
Agile refers to a set of methods and practices based on the values and principles as expressed in the Agile manifesto.
One integral part of agile development is Testing. Regular checkups to see if the product is working enables you to make necessary changes and make the team aware of any issues.
Since you are engaging your customers at every step of the software development process, you are developing a bond with them so that they feel involved and thus makes the process highly flexible and transparent.
Sprint meetings and transparency = greater control over project
As the project is in iterations, the absolute chance of project failure is eliminated. Stepwise investment and early revenue generation give the freedom to make necessary changes wherever needed and resolve issues with each iteration.
We explained Agile Project Management in the above paragraphs and listed its benefits. But how do you implement it? Well, to implement Agile, you need to have a framework and here comes Scrum and Kanban.
Let’s understand Scrum – Its a framework, for agile project management, which uses fixed length iterations of work called sprints.
There are four ceremonies or meetings that bring structure to each sprint:
Team meeting that determines what tasks to complete in the coming sprint.
Meeting where the team shares what they have shipped in that particular sprint.
A mini meeting of around 15 min for the software team to sync
Reviewing the sprint to see what worked and what didn’t to improve the next one.
It is a software used to visualize all the work allotted in a particular sprint. The team moves items from the product backlog into sprint backlog when and where necessary during meetings. Apart from that it has multiple steps i.e. to do, in progress, done, etc. These are the steps visible in the workflow. They increase transparency in agile product management.
Now, to handle every project there is a team and every member in it is an integral part of it and is expected to deliver results and solve issues. If you create your scrum team it will consist of typically 5-9 members. The 3 major ones being:
The project’s key stakeholder. He/she can be either an internal or external customer or a spokesperson for a company and is accountable for managing the product backlog and accepting completed increments of work. There can be only one product owner who conveys the overall mission and vision of the project.
More of a facilitator, he/she is the servant leader to the product owner, development team and organization. He/she will ensure that the team sticks to Scrum rules and help the team perform at its zenith by removing obstacles, facilitating meetings, helping the product owner groom the backlog, etc.
It is a group of skilled individuals with the capability to deliver shippable increments at the completion of each sprint. There are no titles here and no one will tell the development team how to turn product backlog items into shippable increments.
Now you must be asking what is a product backlog, sprint backlog increment, scrum rules, etc., well, let us understand these:
It is the most important document that outlines every requirement for a system, project or product. It is like a to-do list with work items each of which produces a deliverable with business value.
Specific items taken from the product backlog to be completed in a sprint.
Also referred to as PSI (Potentially Shippable Increment) it is the sum of all the product backlog items that have been completed since the last software release.
It varies from team to team but generally you start with the basics and dive into the depths of each item. It is what works best for your team.
1. Higher productivity
2. Superior product quality
3. Reduced marketing time
4. Increase stakeholder satisfaction
5. Improved team dynamics
6. Happier and satisfied employees
Scrum is used mostly by mobile app development companies and other software development teams. According to the 12th annual State of Agile Report, 70% of software teams use Scrum or Scrum hybrid.
But it is not just limited to engineers or developers. From FBI to construction crews to marketing agencies, basically anyone with a complex project can use Scrum. You can use it to organize your team and get more work done in less time.
So that is Scrum and Agile project methodology in a nutshell.