Scrum: What. Why and How in Springs

According to the 2019 Scrum Master Trends Report although agile methodologies have already overtaken classic ones in distribution 82% of dev teams are still early adopters of any PM frameworks.

7 min read, Nov 15
scrum-methodology

Such statistics are astonishing considering that efficient project management is no less important than the qualification of developers. It’s not necessarily cover high organizational and time-management skills to handle the whole project without supervision and ensure timely delivery according to the stipulated requirements.

PM isn’t just about the regular control of the progress. It’s about setting an efficient workflow to ensure the appropriate level of convenience and productivity for both sides of the project. Whether contractors are in-house or remote there are similar options to choose the workflow approach from.

The most appreciated these days are agile methodologies since they properly combine solid operational environment and flexibility to specific requirements. The most widely distributed type Scrum was presented in 1995 and for over 20 years has proven its actual efficiency by being adopted by multiple development teams.

Scrum meaning and basics

Scrum agile methodology allows more easily and clearly handling complex projects by setting micro-goals to achieve during the stipulated periods - sprints (from a week to a month) to accomplish product timely disregarding possible additional complications.

The lifecycle implies strict role allocation and daily (15-min stand-up meetings) and weekly monitoring of the development process. Such an approach allows making changes painlessly to the requirements and implementation process.

There are three roles that ensure the application of the framework and constant workflow conformity of the ongoing project with it.

Scrum timeline

Product Owner. Maintaining the connection between the development team and the client. PO is responsible for adhering to the product priorities through efficient implementation. Using the product backlog tooling (a prioritized task list) the one keeps a finger on the pulse.

Development Team. Self-organized and multifunctional group of qualified developers (5-9 depending on the product size and complexity) that is fully responsible for the ongoing project quality and timely delivery.

Scrum Master. Or Project Manager who works closely with PO and DT to ensure executable task setting, proper prioritizing, sprint/meeting planning and arrangement, etc. - maintain project progress in-house (desired) or remotely assisting this way other positions.

Establishing clear and efficient interaction between all members of the Scrum team allow minimizing operational difficulties and upgrade project-related risk management. However not every environment is appropriate for the methodology application.

Scrum development process

Springs is one of the outsourcing development providers that has chosen the framework to arrange the full-cycle process for custom project implementation. Over the years we ascertained its conformity with serving on a remote basis.

Mixing into Scrum Kanban approach elements we raised the efficiency within the existing ecosystem. It was achieved by using common workflow visualization tooling. The integrated framework to ensure uninterrupted project development and constant feedback is based on:

  • Backlog for task maintenance implemented using Kanban board,
  • Sprints with stipulated duration to execute the chosen assignments,
  • Daily meets held in-house to update the progress status and define issues to resolve,
  • Grooming sessions to discuss and clarify Backlog items,
  • Planning meetings to define the tasks for the certain sprints,
  • Retrospectives to examine and improve regularly the current processes.

    Let’s examine the process of this agile methodology on the example of offered Scrum workflow that involves Product Owner (PO), Project Manager (PM) and the dev team (DT) for the local and international clients in our web & mobile agency.

    Scrum timeline

Backlog

Product Owner fills Backlog with required tasks. Each of them is reviewed by Project Manager, estimated and approved with the dev team before proceeding to the sprint. PO must be sure that Backlog is always properly filled during the run and all tasks are prioritized.

This way, PM can easily plan each sprint without pausing or delaying product development and guide the team within Backlog to set task execution queue according to the current and ultimate project requirements.

Sprints

PM makes each sprint planning with the dev team by taking tasks from Backlog considering their priority. During the sprint, any task is executed the following way:

Scrum Kanban board

Concept Implementation. Consistent product development by the in-house team.

Quality Assurance. The result validation by an in-house QA manager.

PO verification. The review of QA-approved outcome by Product Owner.

  • If there are no issues found the task is moved to Done section.
  • If some adjustments are required the new task is created.

The initial assignment will remain under PO review until the related task is accomplished.

After each sprint PM with the Scrum development team holds an additional meeting (Retro) to overview the process, discuss accomplishments and failures that happened during its running.

Releases

The completed task is released during the sprint on a staging server to be checked by the QA manager and reviewed by PO. Only approved ones are released on a production server that should be chosen and set up as early as possible.

Step by step examination minimizes the number of possible unconformities, bugs, etc. This way the dev team has enough time to test and if needed fix all features before presenting the completed Scrum project results to real customers.

In our experience, if the initial product requirements aren’t fully formed the approach due to its adaptability is a good fit whether for startup development or implementation of enterprise-grade solutions on a Time-and-Material basis. Of course, if all parties adhere to the framework conditions.

Using Scrum: what to consider

Scrum methodology may appear as quite straightforward and flexible. However, it’s not as easy to learn and integrate. That’s why it’s better to engage an expert Scrum Master or rely on the experienced team that using the framework for a significant time.

Another important aspect to take into account is the motivation of the development team. Its maintenance on the appropriate level it’s not only the task for each developer. PO and PM should also make their contribution to ensure the appropriate work quality and productivity.

Scrum team motivation

Being the approach that allows starting without fully completed requirements by significantly segmenting the project it’s not that compatible with limited environments. That’s why for simple and determined products as well as fixed-price cooperations it will be an unnecessary complication that won’t give the expected results.

Why Scrum methodology works

According to PWC, Agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional ones. Such statistics is possible thanks to the room the product is given to improve during the development stage.

The executives have enough time and space to embrace their expertise and creativity in the project favor. Therefore if you opt for the approach you as the client should be ready and open to suggestions to take full advantage of its application.

Agile methodologies initially earned their audience thanks to their better conformity with the constantly changing business environment. Scrum is one of the examples that show that flexibility doesn't always mean the lack of management and control but rather adaptability to the given ecosystem.

Its popularity is reasoned by its ability to speed up the product development thanks to basically simultaneous instead of sequential implementation. It allows setting closer deadlines for the product release making easier to adhere to Time-to-Market limits without affecting its quality and functionality.

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