Intro and Benefits:
There are projects which are characterized by unpredictable events, continuous changes,and complexities. Often it happens that the original project plan cannot be kept. In order to approach the project goal iteratively, Agile methods such as Scrum help at this point.
Agile projects take into account that teams cannot know all project details at the beginning of a project and only develop through experience.
Scrum, and many other Agile methods, owe their popularity to their success in software development. Development teams in this field pioneered a whole new way of doing projects, dealing with complexity, and incorporating it into planning. We have summarized the motivations for Agile methods and the basic philosophy in the article "Agile Methods".
Now back to Scrum. In essence, Scrum is characterized by the division of complex tasks and the self-organized work in the team. Through Scrum, the tasks are processed in short iterations and thus controllable in the processing. Through the Scrum framework, with all its practices and roles, interdisciplinary teamwork is promoted in projects. Through the clear delineation of roles and planned sub-goals, the Scrum Framework ensures transparency and a common understanding of the project's progress.
Those who use Scrum think in terms of sprints. Each sprint produces a functional intermediate product - the product increment. Multiple sprints result in the total product at the end, which meets all requirements, original and newly added.
A Sprint consists of:
- Sprint Planning
- Daily Scrums / Stand Ups
- Sprint Review and
- Sprint Retrospective
In the sprint review, the increment is discussed and, if necessary, presented to the client. The feedback on this then provides the basis for further revisions, for example directly in the next sprint.
So what happens in the four individual sprint events?
In "Sprint Planning", the team plans the new Sprint. In the process, requirements are taken from the general backlog and included in the sprint backlog. So that the scope can be correctly estimated and discussed, it is important to do this with the entire team. The Sprint Backlog's tasks should be completed within a so-called "timebox" of two weeks.
As the name suggests, this meeting should take place every day preferably at the beginningof each workday. The team should not take more than 15 minutes for this. Each team member should give a short update, briefly answering the following questions.
- What did I accomplish yesterday?
- What is my goal today?
- Are there any obstacles?
If the team has set up a scrum board or similar, it is worthwhile to have a "stand up" to briefly discuss the most important things. Problems that cannot be solved quickly are handed over to the Scrum Master. The meeting should primarily serve the self-organization of the team.
As soon as all tasks of the Sprint Backlog have been completed, a Sprint Review takesplace. Here, the functional intermediate product is presented and discussed with all project participants. Above all, the product owner should give feedback on whether the result meets the requirements or whether something needs to be revised. The feedback together with resulting tasks form an important basis for the next Sprint Planning.
The main purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to continuously improve teamwork. The project team should take time to reflect on the past Sprint and ask themselvesthe following questions:
- What helped the collaboration?
- What difficulties were there in the collaboration?
- What would we like to do better or try out in the next sprint?
In our process description of Scrum we have already addressed the three artifacts, but we wanted to go into more detail here. Important: All artifacts should serve transparency and therefore be shared with all project members.
The Product Backlog is an overall to-do list with all requirements. This backlog is dynamic and never complete until the project is completed. The product owner constantly develops the product backlog based on new findings. To be able to perceive changes, all project members should continuously access it.
In Sprint planning, a selection of requirements are taken from the Product Backlog, which are to be processed in the next Sprint. These tasks, also called tickets, are distributed within the team. A Kanban board is often used to visualize the current progress.
At the end of each sprint, a functional intermediate product, the product increment, emerges. The product owner accepts it in the sprint review, then delivers it or holds it back for a larger release.
Roles in the process
The success of Scrum depends largely on the team working with it. Everyone has an importantrole, as an expert, member or supporting force. However, in Scrum, the maindistinction is between Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team member.
In the Scrumframework, he represents the "users" of the product or otherstakeholders. Product managers, for example, take on the role of product ownerbecause they know what the customer or market expects.
There are no hierarchies in the Scrum framework. Each team organizes itself completely through meetings. There is no "project manager" in the classical sense. To keep communication and administration efficient, the team should be limited in size . It is important that the team accommodates experts from all required disciplines, such as programmers, UX/UI experts, designers and testers.
The name "master" can quickly be misleading here. Since there is no hierarchy, he is not above the team members or the product owner. In the sense of the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master is to be understood as a "servant leader". It is his task to moderate the Scrum process and to enable the people involved to execute the process. In addition, he is the interface and contact person for outsiders. Only he decides which external influences and interactions are beneficial for the team.
Another task of the Scrum Master is the planning and provision of required resources.
Scrum is an agile working method which promotes the interdisciplinary cooperation of a team. In an iterative process, the project team approaches the project goal,which can still change in the process of the project. Scrum is used in software development, but also more and more in other areas, where complex and changing tasks have to be solved.
Our experienced project managers will be happy to answer any questions you may have about implementing Scrum in your organization.