There has been a trend lately where businesses are increasingly turning to Agile methodologies – particularly in the IT industry, to deliver their projects. I’m still seeing a lot of resistance in government sectors, especially in my local area, but for the last few years, it has definitely been a trend on the rise.
One of the most common Agile methods that you hear about today is the Scrum methodology. In the most basic terms, Scrum, like any agile methodology works to by having everything completed in small incremental phases – known as ‘sprints’.
What is the Scrum Methodology?
Described as a form of agile software development, the Scrum is built around the idea that small, incremental changes and long-term progress led by the entire team rather than lots of smaller splinter groups can be far more effective.
Rather than trying to have every piece of the project constructed at one by different groups, the Scrum methodology is built around offering a far more cohesive form of project management. Now, projects are typically handed in a manner like;
- The owner of the product that is being created will determine what part of the project has to be finished within the next x days (14 or 30 days are common); instead of setting up a long-term timeframe for the whole project, it’s taken in smaller parts and built in that fashion
- Next, the development team will actually create what is needed within the next x days. Then, they will demonstrate to the rest of the team what has been created, and how it operates or integrates into the overall product
- The owner of the product (in consultation with the team) will then make an executive decision as to what needs to be taken on during the next sprint
A very important part of the Scrum methodology is being able to understand what each part of the team will be doing. The Scrum Master (i.e. Project Manager), will ensure that the process is improving all the time and that cohesion is always being put to the forefront of any developments or changes.
The Scrum methodology focuses on a team-oriented style of development. This places a focus on monitoring productivity and makes sure that the entire team can work together on a specific part of the project, enabling every little block that’s put in place to be the very best that it can be.
Scrum masters monitor the entire process (as any project manager would) and are the ones who monitor and track productivity throughout the project. They are absolutely vital to the long-term progress of any project created in this manner, as without them the philosophy and mantra of the entire thing will fall down.
By understanding that every project, and by turn every process, has a level of risk and unforeseen complexity that wasn’t considered to begin with, the entire philosophy of the Scrum methodology is built around a “sprint” style of working. By going through each section thoroughly and breaking the project up into bite-sized chunks, the chances of long-term success are far more probable.
With regular meetings and far more interaction amongst groups, the strength of the Scrum is that it allows every little foundation of the project to be exactly as it was supposed to be at the very beginning of the actual project.