During the last forty years, new software development methodologies have been introduced to produce valuable software in brief time periods with insignificant costs, and within unstable, evolving situations. Agile Methodologies were in this way introduced to meet the new necessities of the software development companies.
Scrum is part and extension of the Agile movement – a response to the failure of the then dominant software development paradigms (including waterfall) and borrows many principles from lean manufacturing. This methodology was initiated by Ken Swaber in 1995 and has been used with the objective of simplifying project control through simple processes, easy to update documentation and higher team iteration over exhaustive documentation.
What is traditional development – The waterfall
As the name suggests, the waterfall development is a successive design process; meaning, as each of the eight stages (conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, implementation, and maintenance) are finished, the developers proceed to the following step.
The process being sequential, once a step has been finished, developers can’t do a reversal to the past step– not without scratching the entire project and beginning from the start. There’s no space for change or slip, so a project result and an extensive plan must be set at the outset and then followed carefully.
How is Agile different?
To overcome the drawbacks of the traditional development process, the Agile methodology was devised, that utilized an incremental approach rather than a consecutive design process.
Developers begin with a simplistic project configuration, and afterward, start to take small modules. The work on these modules is done within small release cycles called sprints, on completion of which the projects get assessed and tested for bugs and customer review feedback.
SCRUM to the rescue – Overcoming Agile Drawbacks
The traditional and Agile methods both have their strengths and shortcomings and choosing what works best for you depends entirely on the context.
Scrum is best suited when there is no room for speculation; it is a basic set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings that hardly vary. As a lightweight strategy, it can adjust to changing needs and release cycles of the product. By uprooting unnecessary unpredictability, one is better able to adapt with the necessary unpredictability of continuous discovery and learning. This is its leverage to traditional methods.
Scrum is based on the principle that smaller teams working cross functionally create great outcomes. It is more revenue driven with attention on enhancing income and quality of the software.
Three major roles in Scrum briefly described below as.
- Product Owner: a person with vision, power, and accessibility, he is responsible for persistently conveying the vision and priorities to the development team.
- Scrum Master: a facilitator between the Product Owner and the team. The Scrum Master does not manage the team but attempts to remove any obstacles that are hindering the team from accomplishing its sprint objectives. The Scrum Master also works to advise the Product Owner about how to maximize financial gains on investments.
- Team: As per the Scrum’s founder, “the team is utterly self-managing.” The development team is in charge for self-organizing to finish the task. A Scrum development team has around seven completely dedicated members (officially 3-9).For software projects, the average team is a blend of software engineers, architects, programmers, analysts, QA experts, testers, and UI designers. Each sprint, the team decides how it will fulfill the work to be finished. The team has autonomy and responsibility to meet the objectives of the sprint.
The procedure of development with SCRUM divides the project into iterations. In every iteration, a feature is completely developed, tested, and prepared to go to production. The team does not move to another cycle until the present is finished.
Likewise, Scrum has an arrangement of ceremonies or events connected with it. They include:
A sprint is a time-boxed period amid which a particular task is finished and prepared for review. The sprints or iteration cycles are approximately 30 days long and begin with preparing a Sprint Backlog.
Sprint Planning team meetings are time-boxed ceremonies that figure out the work to be accomplished on the product to be delivered and/or specific backlog items pertaining to it.
The Daily Stand-up or Scrum:
The Daily Stand-up is a short corresponding sessions (close to 15 mins) in which every team member rapidly and transparently covers progress subsequent to the last stand-up, planned work before the following meeting, and any obstacles hindering progress.
The Sprint Review:
The Sprint Review is the “show-and-tell” or demonstration ceremony for the team to display tasks finished amid the sprint. The Product Owner checks the tasks against pre-determined acceptance criteria and either acknowledges or refuses it. The stakeholders offer inputs to guarantee that the delivery met the business requirement.
The Retrospective, or Retro, is the last team meeting in the Sprint to figure out what went well, what didn’t, and how the team can enhance in following Sprint. It is a vital opportunity for the team to concentrate on its general execution and distinguish strategies for continuous growth on its procedures. It is attended by the team and the ScrumMaster.
About Product Backlog & Product Backlog Items PBI’s
The product backlog is an absolute document that blueprints each assignment for a framework, project or product. The product backlog can be considered as a schedule comprising of work items, each of which creates a deliverable with business value.
Product Backlog Items (PBIs) are components that make up the Product Backlog. They can run from specifications and prerequisites, to use cases, Epics, User Stories, or simply bugs and tasks. PBIs, in essence, mirror the needs of the stakeholders. A typical approach to fusing the end clients’ needs is to prepare the PBI as a User Story with the under mentioned qualities:
- Description: where is the objective of the PBI is agreed upon.
- Value: where the Business Value of the PBI as determined by the Product Owner.
- Estimate: where the Team needs to assess the relative effort needed to move the PBI to Done.
- Order: where the Product Owner needs to organize PBIs by their relative worth.
Particular tasks are taken from the product backlog which is to be accomplished in a sprint.
Potentially Shippable Increment (PSI):
The aggregate of all product backlog items that have been finished following the last software discharge. While it is up to the Product Owner to settle on when an increment is released, it is the team’s obligation to verify everything that is incorporated in an increment prepared to be released.
The guidelines of Agile Scrum are generally up to the team and represented by what works best for their procedures. The best agile mentors will tell teams, to begin with, the essential scrum ceremonies listed above and post that, inspect and adjust based ones team’s unique requirements so there is continuous improvement in the way teams work together.
Where the emphasis is on the convenience of items, SCRUM is not the most appropriate for it neglects to address ease of use needs of the client. Product owners keep their emphasis primarily on business issues and disregard ease of use. Since they also originate from business backgrounds, they do not have the experience, aptitudes, and inspiration to outline for client experiences. Additionally, traditional agile methodologies are not worried about the client experience vision, which drives the architecture and is the key for guaranteeing a coherent set of client experience.
Scrum addresses uncertain needs and technology risks by grouping people from multiple disciplines into one team to expand communication capacity, visibility, and trust. In cases where requirements are uncertain and technology risks are high, adding too many people exacerbates the situation. Grouping people by specialty also makes the situation worse. Bigger organizations are specially tested regardingAgility. In order to run down authorities obstacles, they ought to meet consistently, advancing change.
Scrum’s steady reality checks uncover dysfunctional limitations in people, group, and associations. Many guaranteeing to do Scrum adjust the parts that require getting through authoritative obstacles and wind up denying themselves of the vast majority of advantages.
Amid Sprint execution, colleagues add to a natural enthusiasm for shared objectives and figure out how to deal with one another to accomplish them. The common human inclination to be responsible to a peer group repudiates years of habit for specialists. Permitting a group to become self-propelled, as opposed to control through punishments and prizes, contradicts years of habits for managers. The ScrumMaster’s perception and influencing abilities expand the likelihood of accomplishment, regardless of the inconvenience in the beginning.
Challenges and Opportunities
Self-organizing teams can fundamentally beat bigger, traditionally managed teams. Family-sized teams normally self-sort when the right conditions are met, which translates into whether the:
- members are resolved to clear, transient objectives
- members can gauge the group’s advancements
- members can see each other’s contribution
- members can provide feedback to each other openly
When to Use
Scrum is facilitative for development with uncertain requirements in addition to unpredictable technology implementation dangers. When choosing whether to apply Scrum, rather than a plan-driven methodology, consider whether the underlying instruments are well-known or whether the work relies on information creation and joint effort.
Chief Technical Officer
Extensive experience in System Architecture, Project Management, and Delivery.