StarNavi Blog - What is Scrum?

By starnavi | Management | March 2020 | 165 views

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Scrum is a project management methodology or framework used by system developers, IT specialists, systems engineers, and software experts to develop applications rapidly. A Scrum master manages it, and its primary goal is to provide a framework that would enable projects or Sprints to be completed in as little as 2-4 weeks. Scrum implements certain principles and values in other to guide decision making and also ensure the delivery of higher quality products. This framework is effective and very simple to follow. Scrum itself is a simple framework for effective team collaboration on complex products. It further ensures a good collaboration mechanism between project teams. Teams can work together alongside the Scrum product owner, no matter the geographical locations. 

Remote work is drastically on the rise nowadays. In a bid to reduce cost and also to explore potentials around the world, many organizations are hiring workers from all parts of the word to work remotely. One of the biggest divers of remote work is collaboration. StarNavi is an excellent example of a great team spirit while working remotely. Without collaboration, remote work would not be effective. Therefore Scrum framework was developed to ensure seamless collaboration not only for remote workers but for workers in the same geographical location as well. Scrum frameworks deploy cutting edge technologies and methodology to enable the rapid and secured development of applications. The framework enables teams to organize effectively, learn through experience, reflect on successful and unsuccessful areas and helps teams to structure and efficiently manage their work. The Scrum framework has some main points, which include Scrum Master, Sprint, Scrum Product Owner, Scrum Team, and Scrum Planning. 

  • Scrum Master - A Scrum Master is a focal person in the Scrum Development Team but is seen as a servant leader in the Scrum Team. Without a team head, most projects would fail, and this is also the case in a Scrum Team. That brings us to the question, "What is the role of the Scrum Master? His or her role is to ensure every member of the development team understands the methodology. The Scrum Masters support and promote the Scrum Team, and they set rules, ensure values, enforce standard practices. Without a proper understanding of the Scrum, system implementation would fail. The Scrum Masters ensure that those within and outside of the Scrum process interact effectively with each other and maximize the values created by the Scrum Team for different projects. Some of the roles of the Scrum Master include the following:
  • Sprint planning workflow

  • Effective communication and services to the project master

  • Ensuring that the scope, goals, and product domain is properly understood by every member of the team as much as possible.

  • Product backlog management

  • Ensures that the entire team have a clear understanding of concise and clear product backlog items

  • Properly understands and ensures agility in projects

  • Facilitates all the activities involved in a scrum event

  • Ensures that the software development project runs smoothly

  • Organize critical meetings and events

  • Coaching the development team

scrum roles and main terms in pictures on grey background

  • Scrum Team - A Scrum Team must be composed of professional individuals that must work together to achieve common goals. They would follow a Scrum guide in delivering a potentially releasable increment of product at the conclusion of each Sprint. So what is a Scrum Team? An organization would structure, organize, and empower a team to form the Scrum Team. The scrum team creates a synergy and optimizes the development and efficiency of applications. Furthermore, a Scrum Team must have self-organizing characteristics. Self-organizing – Each member of the scrum team must know how to turn product backlog into increments. Each member of the scrum team must realize how to carry out this function and should not be told even by the scrum master on how to carry it out. The scrum development team must also be cross-functional, multi-task, and must possess all the skills necessary to create a product increment. The Scrum process does not recognize any title irrespective of team member roles and responsibilities. The scrum does not also recognize the sub-team in the development team. Each member of the team can be assigned a specific task and may also have a specific skill, but the responsibility and accountability of the entire project rest on the entire team.

a team of web developers with computer screens working together on grey background

  • Scrum Product Owner - The Scrum Product Owner (PO) is either the project stakeholder or one of the key stakeholders. But according to the Atlassian.com, it is advisable for the PO to be an individual so that there would be no conflicting vision, and the team would not have to take instructions from different people. One of the major responsibilities of the Scrum PO is to have the vision of the product he or she wants to build. Without a clear vision and communication, the Scrum Team may not be able to build a suitable solution. The Product Owner is seen as the overall lead and must have some experience from management, marketing, effective communication, and user understanding skills. Furthermore, the PO is a lead user of the system or someone from marketing, product management, and human resource background. The PO cannot determine the number of sprints left or tell the Scrum Team how to operate. His or her primary duty is to communicate his or her visions and monitor the development progress effectively. This means the PO must be available and actively engaged at all times for the team. He or she also has the responsibility to determine when the product would be pushed into the market.

  • Sprint - Sprint is a development circle that iterates until the project is completed. Each sprint circle defines the amount of work to be done by the team. At the completion of each sprint, the project would be evaluated and reviewed. A scrum sprint usually lasts between 2 to 3 weeks, and they ensure the project is broken up in modules, which makes it easier to manage. Sprint in Scrum framework is used to depict an agile methodology that employs a short period of delivery at full speed. Sprint goals are set with the scrum team, and the product owner or stakeholders, and they plan the work together using Sprint backlog. After the planning and goal definition, the team would work collaboratively together to complete the project effectively.

  • Scrum planning - Scrum planning involves the planning of the various Sprints in the Scrum project in other to achieve the desired result and goals. This is an event in the scrum framework where the Scrum team would make the necessary plans, steps, and backlog items needed to complete the project successfully. They would also discuss the sprints and the ways to complete the product backlogs. Planning includes establishing sprint goals and determining who is involved in the sprints. Scrum planning involves the Scrum team, product owner, Scrum Master, and stakeholders.

managers with mobile phones working in front of the chart

Scrum artifacts

Scrum Artifacts are the things that are used in solving a problem and in the Scrum project. Artifacts are like a product backlog, and a Scrum Team cannot be successful without the right information delivered through the artifacts. The function of the Scrum Artifacts is to provide the entire Scrum Team with the necessary information that is needed to complete a project. The Scrum Artifact would also pass the necessary information to the stakeholders for a proper understanding of the project progress. Some of the key information passed on by the Scrum Artifact includes the activities carried out in the project, the planned/scheduled activities, and the project under development. The Scrum Artifacts define the following process in the Scrum framework.

  • Sprint Goal

  • Product Vision

  • Sprint Backlog

  • Burndown chart

  • Definition of Done

round icons of scrum artifacts on grey background

Scrum development team size

A small development team is sufficient to complete a significant task in a Scrum project. However, when the team is too small, interaction and productivity would greatly reduce. A smaller development team would also lack the necessary skills required to complete a project which would delay the completion of the project. On the other hand, having a large number of team members that exceed ten would require too much coordination. The complexity of the project would also increase when the development team is too large. Therefore it is important to keep a Scrum Development Team number above three but not more than 10. The Scrum Master and Project Owner are not included in the number, but they have an active role in the execution of the work.

Scrum framework

Scrum is an agile framework that is centered on continuous improvement through the application of streamlined principles. It ensures the project is carried out successfully while also changing the way people think about delivering values to their customers. Scrum replaces a programmed algorithmic approach with a heuristic one, with respect for people and self-organization to deal with unpredictability and solving complex problems.

Furthermore, the framework enables a project team to think in a certain manner and builds a certain principle in everyday project communication. The Scrum framework is built to ensure continuous learning, and it can adjust to fluctuations in business environments. The framework works in a principle that assumes the scrum team does not have any knowledge of the project from start to finish. Therefore evolves its experience to always give the right path to project teams. This framework is structured to rapidly adapt to rapid change requirements, reprioritization, and very short release cycles so that a project team would learn continuously.

Scrum is well structured but flexible, and that is why it can adapt to changes. It can be executed to meet the functional requirements of any organization and also to solve complex problems. In scrum, there is no one size fits all approach; rather, different teams deploy scrum differently to meet their requirements and goals. There are different stages in the Scrum framework which are:

  • Backlog

  • To-Do

  • In Progress

  • Blocked

managers with a laptop working in front of the huge chart with task stages

Advantages of Scrum

Scrum adopts an agile approach that ensures the software development process continuously evolves and completes on time. It ensures that the product under development can still be sold while been worked on through its sprint process. The development process is incremental, making it very efficient and reliable. Here are the major advantages of Scrum:

  •  The product can be in the market while still been developed

  • Shortens the time to market through the incremental development process

  • Higher revenue generation

  • Teams can change the scope of the project at any time

  • Allows Project Owners and stakeholders to be involved in the development process

  • Faster project completion

The Scrum Values

Having the right values is important for every framework and organization. Scrum has some key values that ensure the framework stands out and utilized by lots of professionals. The values include Focus, commitment, respect, courage, and openness.

words defining scrum values written horizontally in black letters

Why use Scrum?

In project development, the organization responsible for project technology is one of the keys to the success of the project. Therefore, enterprises would usually opt for methodologies and digital solutions that go in line with their visions in software development. Most organizations today use Scrum as their preferred software development platform because it allows them to easily plan and successfully deploy operations. It comes with agility and the ability to learn and adapt to the ever-changing business dynamics. Here are the reasons why you should use Scrum.

  • Helps organizations save money – Using Scrum has the potential of saving your organization a lot of money, and you can achieve so much more with the framework. With scrum, your team can easily manage and organize tasks in a very efficient manner. You can also plan the necessary steps to achieve your goals, which can save a lot of cost and time. Furthermore, multiple projects can be carried out with Scrum, which improves profitability.

  • Collaboration and teamwork - Work is divided correctly and segmented; therefore, teamwork would be more efficient. Scrum unifies data, people, and processes, which also improve communication among team project groups, including the Scrum master, stakeholders, and project owners.

  • Adapts to the changing business landscape – Scrum has a very efficient methodology that ensures it easily adapts to the changing business landscape. This means your plan would always be executable, and your projects would not go obsolete.

  • Very easy to use – You can easily integrate every unit, plan of action, and successfully deploy every component with ease. The management and participation of SCRUM are very easy and simple to use for all stages of software development.

Other reasons why you should use scrum include:

  • Audit trail

  • Quick response to changes

  • Frequent functional test

  • Direct and easy collaboration with clients and other third parties

  • The motivation of team members and accountability

pictures showing benefits of scrum in round icons

Scrum Development team training

A Scrum Team must be adequately trained on how to create high-quality software using the Scrum framework. This would enable them to cope with challenges and acquire the necessary skills required to close out a project. There is professional Scrum development certification available for any organizations that wish to train their staff. The certification would validate their knowledge of how to build complex software solutions and be recognized as industry leaders. If you want to know more about modern working approaches, contact us at hello@starnavi.io. Don’t forget to share this article in your social media, if it was useful!