What is Scrum?
Scrum is “an agile framework for managing project workflow” to put it in a few words. At the same time, agile is a project management approach in accordance to which, a project is divided into smaller pieces that should be completed individually.
Scrum is not an acronym; it is just a word that is used to describe a movement in Rugby where a team acts together to get a ball. The analogy with project management is quite obvious. In 1986, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka thought the same and chose the word “Scrum” to represent the project management approach that they invented.
Why Scrum and How It Functions?
Because Scrum is an intuitive, flexible, and effective way of approaching the management of software development. Yes, intuitive; It just sounds like something alien because of the fancy name, but as soon as principles behind it are explained, they become “obvious.”
However, the problem is that people do not always naturally implement the agile methodology that Scrum represents because we have other, not that efficient, and rigid ways of approaching work, ingrained in our minds.
Imagine, you have to build a house. Most likely, you would divide the process into four parts:
1. Foundation construction
4. Interior design
In this case, you start a new stage of construction only after the previous one is completed and tested. At the same time, you cannot revise framing without affecting roofing or revise foundation without affecting framing, and roofing, and basically everything else. Overall, making any changes to the house in the process of development will result in an unimaginable hassle or simply would not be possible.
Such an approach is a right and only choice when building a house, but is not that effective when building a piece of software because the world of software development provides you with flexibility that the real world just cannot. However, that is how most of us are used to approach our work as that is how most of us were educated to approach our work from an early age.
Perhaps, the brightest example of such a rigid “ABC” project management in software development is the waterfall approach. Even though it helps to get the work done in certain cases, the lack of flexibility makes it obsolete in the modern market.
On the other hand, with Scrum, you break your work into smaller iterative periods called sprints. Each sprint has all that is necessary within itself:
However, at the same time, sprints are connected in a non-linear way, which provides desired flexibility. Why so? Because with Scrum you are not obligated to build your product by following strictly from point A to point Z. On the contrary, you have the freedom to choose the most relevant, crucial element to your application that you want to launch first and then plan the process and develop an MVP in accordance with the Scrum model. Afterward, you can launch the minimal working version of the product for the users to test it if required. Then, you can proceed with the development of other features of the application.
To continue with a house analogy, Scrum allows you to perform roofing and building foundation simultaneously or freely switching between different parts of your project depending on your priorities and requirements. Want to make “framing before foundation in your future application”? Easy: Scrum + software development will provide you with such a possibility.
It takes a professional and experienced PM to organize a team around Scrum and keep the motivation of team members up. Such an employee should be educated in the ways of Scrum and know how to implement it properly. PM is also a bridge between a team and a client.
The benefits of Scrum are
1. A tight collaboration of a development team and a customer. Scrum requires a high level of a client’s involvement to properly prioritize the development process. It now only makes the process of development transparent but also helps to ensure that the product meets the client’s expectations.
2. An already functioning product at the end of each sprint that can be tested.
3. Reduced risks. The scrum approach implies constant revision and refinery of a product, meaning that it is easy to adjust it in accordance with new requirements or adapt the product to changes in the market or budget.
4. Increased efficiency of a team. Due to Scrum, the team should constantly communicate and discuss a project to stay on the same page, which positively affects the team’s productivity and boosts creativity.
In a world, full of uncertainties, where an ability to adapt to the changing conditions of the market quickly is a necessity to survive the competition, Scrum is a go-to project management approach.