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Monday, August 25, 2014

Things You Need to Know about Scrum

In the previous article, we saw when we must use Scrum. If you are reading this article, it means that you have decided to use Scrum in your organization. Before you go full-on with scrum implementation, there are a few things you need to know about scrum. They are:
  • Scrum concepts are very simple and easy to understand but following & implementing the same is not as easy as it sounds.
  • The Scrum Master’s role is pivotal to the success of your project. He/she is the person who will make sure Scrum is properly followed in your organization.
  • Every Scrum Sprint starts with Planning and ends with testing & acceptance of the product built during the sprint cycle
  • The Development Team can usually start work on the sprint as soon as the initial few entries in the product backlog are ready/well defined.
  • In a Scrum Environment, there is no Project Manager. The team is self-organizing and self-managing.
  • The Scrum Master is not the Project Manager. His role is not to manage the team. His role is to facilitate the proper implementation of scrum in the organization and help the team if they encounter any issues/impediments.
  • The Product Owners role is pivotal to the value creation part of the product being built. Any project would require significant investments and without a proper product owner  the team might not be able to deliver as much value as compared to the investments the organization is making.
  • The Product Owner decides the product features while the Team is free to decide the “How” aspect of the implementation.
  • The Product Owner is usually the point of contact for the Customers and acts as the bridge between the scrum team & the end users. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

When to Use Scrum

Scrum as you might have seen in the previous few articles is a revolutionary concept in software development and is gaining a lot of popularity. However, scrum is not the one-stop solution to all your software development needs. There are times when scrum could be better and there could be times when traditional SDLC could be better.

Now that we know the basics of scrum, we should first understand when to use scrum before we move further – in greater detail…

Look at the picture below – Most of the key factors to be considered before deciding which method to use are compared here:

To summarize:

It is better to use Scrum if there are a lot of unknowns, where projects are more complex and it is difficult to define a detailed requirements document upfront. Without proper/detailed requirements it might be impossible to estimate the size of the work to be done and hence it could result in a lot of delays during the course of development of the project.

It is better to use traditional approach when there are very few unknowns, where projects are less complex and it is easy to define the exact requirements upfront. With detailed requirements it is very easy to estimate and plan the project from the very beginning as well as track the project progress.

Important Note:

By seeing the first column of this table you might be tempted to use Scrum for software development because Requirement Changes are so frequent in real life projects. Yes, scrum would greatly help in such a situation but care should be taken not to start implementing scrum projects until the entire organization (or at least the team that is going to implement scrum and its management) is trained in Scrum.

A couple of articles back; I had explained the Different ScrumRoles. Unless the company’s senior management is clear in their understanding of scrum and all relevant stakeholders understand their roles, scrum cannot be successful. So, proper training is very important before starting out scrum implementation…

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