So what is the Scrum methodology all about?
To put it in very simple words, scrum is an innovative approach to get the tasks done in a very efficient and planned way. This is a very iterative and an incremental agile method, and it is mostly used in software development. Every iteration is known as a ‘Sprint’. It is generally 2 to 4 week long in duration. Short term goals of delivering new software capability in every 2-4 weeks are targeted with every sprint. Sprints paves the path for developing higher-quality software at a fast pace.
It helps programmers/professionals to address complex problems, while also being productive and creative in delivering end products of the highest value. According to the latest surveys, Scrum is the most popular agile project management methodology in software development. We tried the scrum methodology at White Label Services, and yes, it’s pretty good!
To put it short, Scrum is a framework that focuses on and facilitates team collaboration on complex and strategic projects. Scrum promotes and emphasizes teamwork in project management. Scrum is also a part of Agile software development.
The term Scrum comes from one of the sports – Rugby. In rugby, scrum is one of the team formations where every team member has a specific role, but everyone is working towards a quick adoption of strategies.
The History of Scrum
The history of Scrum dates back to the early 1990s. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber came up with the idea, and they presented the same to the Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications (OOPSLA) conference in Texas in the year 1995. The methodology was then formalized in a paper titled “SCRUM Software Development Process.”
By 2001, Sutherland, Schwaber and around 15 other software development leaders created the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. In 2002, the Scrum Alliance was founded by Schwaber with Mike Cohn and Esther Derbry. A certification arm was later added to the organization, with Certified ScrumMaster programs.
Later, in 2006, Sutherland created Scrum, Inc., and teaches Certified Scrum courses. In 2009, Schwaber left the Scrum Alliance and formed Scrum.org, and there he offers Professional Scrum series.
Ever since then, Scrum has attained a global role in project management. The first publication of the Scrum Guide was released in 2010 and today it is known as one of the most used Agile frameworks for managing projects.
Some key benefits offered by Scrum:
- It leads to higher productivity
- Better-quality products can be achieved with this methodology
- More time efficient market strategies
- Stakeholder satisfaction is significantly improved with Scrum
- Much better team dynamics
- Overall employee happiness
Where is the Scrum Methodology used?
Scrum is widely used in the software development industry. As a matter of fact, it’s the most popular agile methodology. As per a report, around 70% of software development teams use Scrum or a Scrum hybrid. Scrum has also been widely accepted across other business functions including IT and marketing. Various leadership teams are also inclining towards Scrum, and very often use it along with lean and Kanban practices.
Components of Scrum methodology
The Scrum methodology is defined by team roles, scrum events, artifacts and rules.
The Scrum Team
Usually the Scrum teams are composed of 7 +/- 2 members. There isn’t any team leader as such to delegate tasks and take a decision on must a problem be solved, and the entire team as a unit decides on how the issues are to be addressed and handled and how to solve the problems. Every member of the Scrum team is an integral part of the solution and the team together is expected to take the product from inception to completion. There are three most crucial roles in any Scrum team:
1. The Product Owner
The Product Owner is the project’s key stakeholder. It is his responsibility to envision what is to be built, and transfer the same to the scrum team. This is the key to successfully initiate any agile software development project. The product owner then creates the product backlog, which is the product’s prioritized features list.
2. The Scrum Master
A scrum master can be termed as a facilitator for an agile development team. It is his responsibility to ensure that the team adheres to and follows the Scrum theory, rules and practices. It is at his shoulder to ensure that the team performs efficiently and at the highest levels. The scrum master can achieve this by aligning and arranging regular meetings and discussions, removing impediments, and by helping the Product Owner to refine and groom the backlog.
3. The Development Team
As the term suggests, the Development team is a self-organizing, cross-functional team having all of the skills to deliver the functionalities and outputs of each sprint. Under Scrum methodology, this team goes beyond programmers and includes everyone who participates in achieving the delivered sprint.
Sprint: Usually 2-4 weeks long, a sprint is a time-defined period during which a specific set of functionalities or work is achieved and made ready for review.
Sprint Planning: It is a scrum event which determines which product backlog items will be delivered and how the work will be achieved.
The Daily Stand-up: The Daily Stand-up is a short meeting (no more than 15 minutes) in which every team member covers his individual progress since the last stand-up, his planned work before the next meeting, and any issues or hindrances that are affecting the progress.
The Sprint Review: In Sprint Review, the team presents the work completed during the sprint. The Product Owner checks the work and compares it with the acceptance criteria and accordingly he either accepts or rejects the work. Also, the stakeholders/ clients give feedback to ensure that the delivered work meets the business requirement.
The Retrospective: It is the final team meeting in the Sprint, and its purpose is to determine how the team performed overall and what went well, what didn’t, and how overall improvement can be attained in the next sprint. It is attended by the Scrum Master and the team. It’s a crucial opportunity for the team to evaluate and focus on its overall performance and identify future strategies for continuous improvement.