If your work, by any chance, is connected to product or software development in any way, you’ve probably heard of Scrum. No surprise, as this methodology has been on the tip of the tongue for the last couple of years. Lately, it has gone beyond IT, entering sales, marketing and even HR. So, what is Scrum? How did it become a “magic pill” prescribed to solve complex business or product related issues? Let’s find out.
WHAT IS SCRUM?
In simple words, Scrum is a methodology, originally designed for software development, that is based on step-by-step implementation of iterations. It is a flexible, dynamic and effective agile framework delivering customer value in all stages of the project. Scrum’s priority is customer satisfaction during the project development in an atmosphere of transparent communication, team responsibility and non-stop progress.
Scrum is basically the update of Agile Management, a revolutionary project management method.
Previously, project management was all about building a single operation of product development, from start to finish. On the other hand, agile scrum methodology is focused on delivering certain results (product iterations) throughout short periods of time, providing stakeholders with tangible benefits and creating business value on the go. In other words, to fully understand Scrum, we must dig into its roots – Agile.
WHAT IS AGILE?
Agile is a methodology allowing for more efficient project management through breaking the process into several phases. Each phase presumes consistent stakeholders' involvement and evenly achieved iterations.
Four main values of Agile
As described in the Agile Manifesto (created in 2000 by a group of software developers) Agile main values are:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
- Working software over comprehensive documentation;
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
- Responding to change over following a plan.
12 fundamentals of Agile
- Customer satisfaction;
- Early and continuous delivery;
- Embrace change;
- Frequent delivery;
- Collaboration of businesses and developers;
- Motivated individuals;
- Face-to-face conversation;
- Functional products;
- Technical excellence;
- Self-organized teams;
- Regulation, reflection and adjustment.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SCRUM
1986. It all started when in the Harvard Business Review appeared an article named “The New Product Development Game” by Hirotaka Takeuchi & Ikujiro Nonaka. It was about leading Japanese companies of that time (such as Honda, Canon, and Fuji-Xerox) and their new scalable and team-based approach to launching new products worldwide.
The article has had a huge impact on project management and gave birth to a concept we now call Scrum. (The word “Scrum” is actually a term from Rugby, indicating a restart of the game after a foul or out).
1993, Jeff Sutherland (at Easel Corporation) developed a full-scale methodology, which was a 1986 article’s concept combined with modern software development theory, such as: object-oriented development; controlled empirical process; iterative productivity improvement; complex and dynamic systems development. It was the beginning of the Scrum as we know it.
SCRUM METHODOLOGY & PROCESS
Scrum methodology is a complex of quite specific practices and roles executed throughout the software development project. It requires the implementation of the abovementioned twelve Agile fundamentals in a context agreed by the team of product developers with the stakeholders.
What is a Sprint?
Scrum is performed in time blocks that are short and periodic. They are called Sprints. Sprints usually range from 2-4 weeks, which is enough for feedback collection and iterations implementation. Each Sprint is a complete cycle with a very defined result – normally meaning a product version delivered to the client, at his request.
What is a Product Backlog?
To put it very simply, it’s a to-do list or a plan that needs to be completed within the project. List items can have a technical nature or can be user stories.
What is a User Story (a Story)?
A short, simply worded description of a feature from a user or a software customer's point of view (what they want from it).
The Scrum team includes the following roles:
Scrum master (SM):
A leader guiding the team to the result while controlling the compliance with the Scrum values and principles. SM daily routine also consists of keeping Scrum up to date, coaching and training the team members.
Product owner (PO):
PM is the stakeholders and software customers representative. This role is focused on the ROI (Return Of the Investment) of the project. PMs convey stakeholders' vision of the project and work with the stories: validate, prioritize and incorporate them into the Product Backlog.
Assigned professionals who develop the project by realizing the stories within each sprint with the help of technical skills, they possess.
Due to its high scalability, compliance with expectations, flexibility to changes and risk reduction Scrum is considered to be the most used and trusted framework of today's software industry.