Scrum Methodology / Project Management

The Scrum methodology of agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. In fact, Scrum and other agile processes were inspired by its shortcomings. The Scrum methodology emphasizes communication and collaboration, functioning software, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities ² all attributes that suffer in the rigidly ordered waterfall paradigm.

Scrum Methodology
For many developers in the software industry, the agile methodology is nothing new. Most folks know that agile was a direct response to the dominant project management paradigm, waterfall, and borrows many principles from lean manufacturing. In 2001, as this new management paradigm began to pick up momentum, agile was formalized when 17 pioneers of the agile methodology met at the Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah and issued the Agile Manifesto. Their manifesto is now considered the foundational text for agile practices and principles. Most importantly, the manifesto spelled out the philosophy behind agile, which places a new emphasis on communication and collaboration; functioning software; and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities. But for all of the strides the Agile Manifesto made in revising a philosophical approach to software development, it didn¶t provide the concrete processes that development teams depend on when deadlines ² and stakeholders ² start applying pressure. As a result, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of running a team with agile every day, organizations turn to particular subsets of the agile methodology. These include Crystal Clear, Extreme Programming, Feature Driven Development, Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Scrum, and others. At my organization, we use Scrum and I¶ve found it to be an incredibly effective management methodology for everyone involved, including developers and stakeholders. If you¶re interested in learning about the other agile methodologies, there are plenty of resources out there. This blog is designed to provide some essential background for those who are new to Scrum.

What¶s Unique about Scrum?
Of all the agile methodologies, Scrum is unique because it introduced the idea of ³empirical process control.´ That is, Scrum uses the real-world progress of a project ² not a best guess or uninformed forecast ² to plan and schedule releases. In Scrum, projects are divided into succinct work cadences, known as sprints, which are typically one week, two weeks, or three weeks in duration. At the end of each sprint, stakeholders and team members meet to assess the progress of a project and plan its next steps. This allows a project¶s direction to be adjusted or reoriented based on completed work, not speculation or predictions.

Team Member: In the Scrum methodology. but. If Scrum¶s capacity for adaption and flexibility makes it an appealing option. testers. the team is responsible for determining how it will accomplish the work to be completed. a Product Owner must fight the urge to micro-manage. that freedom is accompanied by a responsibility to meet the goals of the sprint. similar to the Product Owner¶s situation. this emphasis on an ongoing assessment of completed work is largely responsible for its popularity with managers and developers alike. it¶s also the role with the most responsibility. architects. Because Scrum values self-organization among teams. responsibilities. y y ScrumMaster: The ScrumMaster acts as a liaison between the Product Owner and the team. the Product Owner is the single individual who must face the music when a project goes awry. But what allows the Scrum methodology to really work is a set of roles. the stability of its practices give teams something to lean on when development gets chaotic. Because the Product Owner has the most authority of the three roles. and UI designers. the team is responsible for completing work. The Roles of Scrum Scrum has three fundamental roles: Product Owner. This grants teams a great deal of autonomy. the Product Owner is responsible for communicating the vision of the product to the development team. In short. this role helps the team remain creative and productive. a typical team includes a mix of software engineers. analysts. teams consist of seven cross-functional members. QA experts.Philosophically. Ideally. and meetings that never change. plus or minus two individuals. while making sure its successes are visible to the Product Owner. y Product Owner: In Scrum. and team member. ScrumMaster. Instead. In other words. Each sprint. At the same time. He or she must also represent the customer¶s interests through requirements and prioritization. programmers. The tension between authority and responsibility means that it¶s hard for Product Owners to strike the right balance of involvement. For software projects. The ScrumMaster also works to advise the Product Owner about how to maximize ROI for the team. The ScrumMaster does not manage the team. he or she works to remove any impediments that are obstructing the team from achieving its sprint goals. Product Owners must be available to answer questions from the team. .