Businesses rarely deliver by the promised deadline due to fundamental flaws in the planning process. Before a project commences, estimation is done on a fixed scope of requirements and a sequential flow is followed in the development process where the modifications are incorporated only at the end of the product development. This method of project planning is flawed because management tends to either overestimate or underestimate the scope and the depth of requirements. In order to increase productivity, businesses need to change the way projects are planned and executed. This is where Scrum comes in, as an agile framework which enables organizations to adjust smoothly to rapidly changing requirements, and produce a product that meets evolving business goals.
So, what is Scrum?
Its an agile framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. Instead of planning an entire project in the initial stages, Scrum manages complex software development using iterative and incremental practices; breaking the project scope into phases termed sprints.
What makes it so effective?
Several software companies that were using the traditional models have moved to this new framework as Scrum significantly increases productivity and reduces time to benefits relative to classic “waterfall” processes.
It is effective due to the following reasons;
- 80-20 rule: Scrum follows 80-20 rule; 80% of the value comes from 20% of the work. Hence, Scrum looks to maximise value from the work done.
- Scrum is a team-based approach to delivering value to the business: Team members support each other and work together to achieve a shared business goal.
- Daily reviews: Progress is tracked daily and the team is constantly given feedback on performance. Thus improvements are brainstormed and implemented quickly. These improvements gradually add up to improve both quality and quantity of work completed.
- Constrained work hours: Scrum keeps work within official work hours. Most people who work long hours tend to make ineffective decisions due to exhaustion, which leads to mistakes and delays in the project.
How to Implement Scum In The Work Place?
The Scrum framework can be implemented by reforming the work process according to these steps.
- Assign a Scrum Master – This person is responsible for the overall team, supporting, coaching, and guiding them through the SCRUM process, removing any roadblocks along the way
- Come up with the Product Backlog – the product backlog is basically a to do list. Each point should be written from users’ perspective.
- Prioritize – The items from the backlog that need doing right away should top the list.
- Estimate Tasks – Task estimation is done as story points and distinguished based on their difficulty relevance to each other. Fibonacci numbers are generally used for this as humans are better at distinguishing the difference between 5 and 8, as opposed to smaller variances.
- Plan the ‘work sprint’ – Sprints are small blocks of time ranging from 1 week to 1 month. The team must complete a set number of tasks pertaining to a fixed number of story points, initially agreed upon.
- Sprint Planning – The key stakeholder will go over the backlog, and the team members will do some back and forth on which backlog items will be included in this sprint. Once that’s decided, the features are broken down into sprint tasks and assigned to team members.
- Development and Monitoring – Team members work on their tasks, and everybody checks in on their progress at the Daily Scrum Meeting updating the Scrum Master. This 15-minute meeting answers three questions: What did you work on yesterday? What will you work on today? Is there anything blocking your work today that you need help with?
- Burndown charts for Progress Monitoring – It is a graphical representation that shows the rate at which work is completed and how much work remains to be done. The chart slopes downward over Sprint duration and across Story Points completed
- Demo at the end of Sprint – The team shows the product stakeholders what has been accomplished during the sprint. A working demo of the new features that were implemented during the latest sprint is shown to the Client.
- Sprint Review – The sprint ends with a sprint review and retrospective. The retrospective meeting includes what went well, what went wrong and what can be done to improve the productivity on the next sprint.