Agile methods assist project managers by increasing productivity as well as efficiency. In case you’re not clear on this, Scrum methodology is an agile way of managing a project, while Agile is an umbrella term. It’s one of the most popular frameworks for implementing Agile, especially in software development. The more organizations realize the benefits of Scrum Methodology, the happier and more productive its employees will be.
Scrum teams typically consist of five to nine people, and do not have any form of leader who delegates tasks or makes final decisions. This is to facilitate team unity. With this setup, the team addresses any issues together, making each member an integral part of the whole. While there is no hierarchy, there are three important roles in a Scrum team: the Product Owner, the ScrumMaster, and the Development Team.
Teams that use scrum methodology experience:
- Higher productivity
- Higher-quality products/results
- Reduced project time
- Stronger team dynamics
- Happier employees
The Scrum Sprint
A team’s project progresses through the use of Scrum events, sometimes called ceremonies. A Sprint is a set block of time, usually between 2-4 weeks, where specific tasks are completed. After that, a Sprint Review should occur to let team members present what they completed. Here, the Product Owner compares the completed work to the Product Backlog. At the end of the sprint, a final meeting, called the Retrospective, takes place. During the retrospective, the team discusses what went well, improvements, and the overall performance during the sprint. It’s also a time to update any strategies for the next sprint.
The product backlog serves as a detailed, prioritized to-do list. It outlines all requirements for the project and sometimes considered as the most important document. During each sprint, teams should refer to the product backlog to create a Sprint Backlog. A completed task from the product backlog should be added to the Increment. The increment summarizes all completed items since the last software release.
The Daily Stand-up, or Daily Scrum, is fairly self-explanatory. It’s a short daily meeting that the team conducts to help prioritize tasks and ensure all members are on the same page. Keep in mind, this meeting should only last about 15 minutes; it’s meant to facilitate collaboration, not status updates.
Top 10 best practices
- Develop the Product Vision and Product Backlog together
- At the start of your project, try using organizational tools like whiteboards, sticky notes, and spreadsheets to put your project in order.
- Be consistent with the Daily Scrum – conduct standing meetings to keep them short and meet at the same time each day
- Don’t underestimate the benefits of a retrospective – encourage all team members to seriously review the events during the last sprint and work to improve
- Not all items in a product backlog will be developed, but it should contain all possibilities despite this
- Have a healthy balance of documentation – prioritize what should and shouldn’t be
- Consider Agile/Scrum software programs to help your team stay organized and on track
- Never adjust your sprint’s time block – strictly follow it, otherwise your team might continue the process of extending deadlines
- Be proactive with quality assurance
- Include the client – update them frequently enough to ensure your team grasps what the client desires and make sure you don’t lose sight of it