Ultimate Guide To Learning Scrum7 mins - Introduction
Not one project is the same. They come in all different types. This is why there are a different set of ways to execute and manage different projects. One way that many different companies and individuals have found helpful is the Scrum project management. It’s a process that involves a more intelligent way of working so that you’re able to complete more tasks. This guide is meant for those who are new to the process, or for those who need a quick brush up. It will go over the basics of Scrum while keeping in mind that the larger picture of Scrum is more complicated.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is one of the most popular agile systems out there currently. It helps teams deliver customer value early and often in a highly predictable way. In general, it helps groups produce something in thirty days or less. Groups can have a one, two, three, or four weeks spread. Scrum isn’t a methodology or a method. It’s a framework, which means you and your team will have to tailor Scrum to your specific needs. The good news is that it’s quite a simple process.
Scrum comes from rugby. Much like the sport, it involves a group of people trying to aggressively move the ball forward. They’re doing so by working as one unit of individual parts. This is different from other approaches, where one person is given a specific thing to do, and when they’re done with it, they pass on the proverbial baton to the next, until the project is finished. Scrum emphasizes a cross-functional team approach. All people on board must be pushing toward a common goal.
Published in 1995, the Scrum method was popularized by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber (among many others who have helped to promote it).
Why Use Scrum?
Scrum is different from other approaches because it doesn’t give you answers to your problems. If anything, it helps to bring up more questions. The goal is to help you understand the inefficiencies, dysfunctions, and team allocations, to name a few. Scrum puts the responsibility of addressing the issues in your hands. One of the questions you may have when using Scrum, for instance, is “how do I get my team to work cross-functionally?” How do you break down those initial barriers in which people may see a specific part of the job or project as being specific to one person? Scrum gives you very easy rules to follow; the hard part comes with having a group follow them. They can be quite resistant to such an interconnected approach.
The Traditional Way
Traditionally speaking, you have a group of individuals who have different ideas. Each of the people wants to implement requirements. Some examples are hardware, software, and business type projects. In short, they need something done so they can improve their work. A sponsor is normally involved in this process. The sponsor will hire a project manager or recognize that someone needs to be a project manager. Their job is to make sure that funding goes through and to allocate responsibilities to the team members. The project manager will then, with the help of others, put forth a project plan. The project plan’s underlying goal is to find out when the team can get the project done. Many project plans are done in a detailed fashion, emphasizing the detail level estimates all upfront.
Continuing the process, the project manager takes the project plan and identifies resources which will be allocated to the team members. The business analyst usually takes on this responsibility. They gather the resources information needed. From here, the role of the software engineer comes in. They’re responsible for figuring out how this is all going to be implemented. Once done, they hand it over to the development team, who gets the project done. In many cases, their list of tasks is done on an hourly basis. When done, they hand over the work to the testing team, who makes sure that what the team said would get done gets done. They make sure that any defects or bugs are spotted and dealt with. Then the project is given off to the subject matter expert or a business customer who will do a user acceptance testing. Hopefully, at the end of this project, there’s a satisfactory product created.
The Scrum Way
So how does the Scrum way differ from the traditional way? The first thing that Scrum demands is that the list of details and desires at the beginning of the process are put into a priority list. The purpose is to prioritize it and rank it. Secondly comes the team. The team doesn’t work in a sequential process. The team comes together as one cross-functional team. They work together on the backlog. Now the project owners position comes into play. They’re the person in charge of the backlog and has to prioritize it so that the items that have the highest value are put to the top of the list. The project owner also needs a Scrum master. This is the individual who facilitates the entire process. The Scrum way generally breaks down to the following roles – the product backlog, project owner, the Scrum master, and finally the team.
The Scrum way breaks down the team members involved in two groups: the committed versus the involved members. The committed team members are the product owner, Scrum master, and the team. They’re called the committed team because, without them, the project will fail. They’re essential to success. They’re held accountable on the project’s results. The involved group is the stakeholders. Stakeholders can be users from other departments, managers of other areas, or other project managers. The reason why Scrum differentiates between the teams is that Scrum has specific rules for each of them.
The Scrum Roles
Product Owner: The product owner is critical to the success of the project. They’re responsible for maximizing the business value delivered by the team. In other words, they’re responsible for the return on investment, also known as ROI. If the team is working hard but the project isn’t going the way in should, an individual will go to the product owner and inquire about what’s holding the team back. Scrum demands that this role be implemented to one person, not a team. This will be one of the most difficult roles to fill for those who are used to giving the responsibilities to several different people. Scrum helps to make it so that there’s only one set of hands in the proverbial pot. It minimizes chaos. It helps the team to figure out who they need to satisfy. Their responsibilities also include rejecting or accepting work. They help define what “done” looks like for the team. The team may feel like it’s done, but the product owner is the one who has the final say. It’s important that the product owner is knowledgeable, engaged, and empowered. They need to be knowledgeable of the requirements that they’re asking for. They need to be able to make decisions and let people know “yes” or “no,” “do it this way,” or “do it that way.” They have to be engaged during the entire project, from start to finish.
Scrum Master: The Scrum master is responsible for facilitating the Scrum project and making sure that the team is delivering value. They’re responsible for helping to build self-organizing teams – teams that can manage their work. Metaphorically speaking, the Scrum master is a hawk. They take note of the impediments in the process and swoop in a remove them as soon as possible so that things can continue to move forward. In doing so, they help keep the process healthy. They may educate the team so that they know what’s expected and makes sure that the rules are followed. They will even make sure that the project manager stays engaged. In short, they empower the team as the servant leader. It’s important to note that they’re not completing their role by controlling or micromanaging people. They’re doing it by empowering them.
The Team: The team is a cross-functional group of individuals. They’re responsible for turning the project backlog into potentially shippable products. In short, they’re responsible for getting items done. The typical Scrum team size is seven people, plus or minus two. The team isn’t a group of individuals responsible for specific things. It’s a group of testers, business analysts, developers, or even Scrum masters that you need to get the job done. They’re a self-organizing group, which means that they know how to get the work done within the overall project vision, they know how to break down the task, and they’re held accountable for their tasks. They’re generalized specialist, meaning they’re moving away from the idea that they’re specializing in one specific role. The roles are purposely placed in the gray area so that if someone within the team can help with something, they can swoop in without hesitation. To keep things from becoming too overwhelming, the team delivers value in small chunks. Their main focus when delivering value in small chunks is the customer.
Scrum is one of the most popular and helpful agile frameworks. It’s an easy process to understand, but harder to implement because it goes against the grain. However, if you’re able to implement it within a project, you will find that you’re able to get quite a bit down in a remarkable amount of time. Take your time when implementing the Scrum method. It’s a conditioning process that will take people who are used to specializing in a specific role time to adjust to. But when they do, products will be flying off the shelves.