Agile is a popular software development method, especially for large or complex projects. One of its most prominent methods in Agile Scrum Methodology. Agile methods are the most popular way to develop software because they include an Iterative and incremental model approach.
In this section, we will discuss the Agile Scrum Methodology and try to understand how it can be used. We will begin with an introduction of the term ‘Scrum’, which in itself is a process-oriented framework rather than a structured, fixed methodology. Although there are some cases where the terms ‘Agile’ and ‘Scrum’ are used interchangeably, their differences should not be ignored.
Agile Scrum Methodology Meaning
Agile and Scrum are interrelated. But, they are different from each other in their approach. Agile methodology is a set of software development principles that have been inspired by the ‘Lean’ manufacturing process philosophy (Toyota Production System) introduced by Toyota Motor Corporation. Lean Manufacturing principles were developed to enable companies to reduce waste in business processes, reduce cost and make faster decisions.
Agile Scrum methodology is a collection of practices, principles, and guidelines for the management of software development projects that can be used by anyone who wants to apply them regardless of their level in the organization or type of project. As such, they may not always provide a complete process framework as there are many aspects of software development that are not included. We will come to know about this as we move further.
Agile Scrum Methodology Summary
Scrum is the best-known agile framework because it provides a simple template for managing and completing complex projects. The acronym describes its three core elements: Sprints (iterations), Roles, and Events.
Three cornerstones of Agile Scrum methodology are Transparency, Face-to-Face Communication, and Courage to make changes. These concepts create a foundation for establishing an Agile mindset in organizations that enables them to embrace change and be more responsive to the market.
Agile methodologies promote adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, with the goal of eliminating waste.
So what is Agile Scrum?
We will begin by defining ‘Agile’, then move on to ‘Scrum’. Once that has been cleared, we will try and understand how the two can work together, taking into account some of the most common mistakes in applying the agile methodology.
Agile is a term that has been used since the 1990s. It signifies a paradigm shift in software development, away from the old traditional models to ones where constant interactions and feedback are emphasized for better product quality.
Scrum is one of many methodologies descended from Agile. Hence, there are several schools of thought on how to implement Agile Scrum. Some of them are:
Scrum has emerged as a popular framework in the environment of software development and other complex endeavors, especially because of its focus on adaptive plans, teamwork, and simplicity. However, there is some degree of confusion regarding how to actually apply Scrum either as a part of Agile or as an independent process.
Scrum can be seen as a process that simply adds more structure to the Agile Methodology. The main difference lies in Scrum’s sprints, while agile methodology is based on iterations and increments. So let us see how we can implement Scrum within Agile.
Scrum provides a simple process framework that helps guide teams through complex tasks. In so doing it fosters an open environment where team members are encouraged to interact closely together to solve problems in real-time. The result is greater productivity and quality:
A typical Scrum project is divided into “sprints” of two to four weeks in duration (although the length can be longer or shorter depending on the team’s size and needs). During each sprint, a “Done” working version of new software is created. Sprints are also timeboxes – if all work isn’t complete at the end of a sprint, the project is extended to take care of unfinished business.
A Scrum team is self-organizing and cross-functional, with all the skills needed to complete work delegated to its members on a rotating basis through tasking. This promotes collective ownership and helps prevent “project creep”—the tendency for scope creep to inflate the cost, schedule, and risk of a project.
Scrum emphasizes face-to-face meetings – including the Daily Scrum, for 15 minutes every day; and periodic sprint planning meetings, each lasting no more than eight hours. These frequent meetings keep team members on the same page and help them to work together effectively. They create transparency in the decision-making process among all stakeholders, reinforce the importance of working closely together and prevent misunderstandings that may lead to conflicts.
Scrum teams are self-organizing, meaning team members decide on which tasks they can accomplish in a sprint. However, they also consciously choose not to make decisions about how those tasks will be carried out. They trust their creativity and dedication to deliver a working project within the sprint timebox and allow development decisions to emerge from interactions between team members during each Sprint.
Scrum values risk-taking: because changes are anticipated and planned for, there is no need to micromanage projects or punish failure. Scrum encourages teams to be creative in problem-solving, find better ways to deliver value and improve continuously.
In scrum, the project is divided into multiple sprints. so let’s try to understand:
What is a sprint?
A Sprint is a short period of time, during which one or more features are developed. Usually, each sprint lasts between 1-4 weeks. The Scrum team uses Sprint to build and release working software that can be tested by users. However, Sprints are a key differentiator between Scrum and other agile methods
For example, Kanban doesn’t have them. A sprint is a time-boxed event and it exists only to get an increment of product functionality done. It has a fixed duration and set date on which the team completes its work or part of the work.
In the Agile Scrum Methodology there are main aspects are involved and those are:
Roles In Agile Scrum Methodology
There are 3 main roles involved in SCRUM. These roles can be performed by a single member or a team of members. They will not always be the same but they will exist:
The product owner is responsible for maintaining and managing the Product backlog that defines what is to be built, as well as prioritizing the product backlog to maximize business value.
Responsibilities: They are responsible for maximizing the value of a product and its features, which they do by working with the team and other stakeholders to determine what is most valuable. They represent the voice of the customer on behalf of stakeholders, continually communicating requirements to developers as well as representing the voice of the development team to customers and other stakeholders.
The product owner is responsible for maximizing the value of a product, this includes managing the backlog and prioritizing requirements to maximize business value. During the sprint planning meeting, a product owner typically writes user stories on cards that are discussed during the regular standup meeting. The Product Owner is most involved with the team during the sprint review meeting as they are responsible for what is included in the next release, but can be present at any of a variety of meetings depending on their relationship with other stakeholders such as customers and senior management.
The Scrum Master is the servant-leader for a team. They are responsible for ensuring that any impediments to the ability of a team to deliver products or services are removed.
The main role here is to be the facilitator and also keep the teams on track with their sprint goal if ever they get sidetracked by other tasks.
Scrum Master is primarily responsible for ensuring Scrum’s rules are followed, and facilitating ways to change when needed.
The scrum master must be part of the team that performs the work or he/she (ScrumMaster) will not be able to properly understand the business value of it, but the scrum master should only participate as a team member to gather insights.
Scrum Master’s primary focus is the management of the development team: coaching, mentoring and protecting Scrum Team members from organizational distractions and influences that might prevent them from doing their work effectively.
Scrum Development Team
The Scrum Team is made up of cross-functional individuals who work together to deliver products. They are accountable for the quality of their work and how they feel about it; they must feel that what they are doing is important and valuable.
The scrum team consists of a suitable mix of skills that are to be self-organizing, cross-functional, and have clear accountability for results. Everyone who is involved in the creation or maintenance of software is typically considered part of the development team: developers, testers, quality assurance (QA) specialists, and so on.
Development teams are usually smaller than the traditional software teams in other processes and are typically collocated (to avoid delays in the communication). The Scrum development team is responsible for all technical activities involved with a product, including analysis, design, coding, testing, and documenting; but not building or running the physical computer system needed to run the software.
The ScrumMaster reports to one of the top management and is not in the chain of command for any other purposes than those of Scrum. The Product Owner needs an advocate among the organization’s leadership team but does not need to report to this person since he should be part of the product development team and have the authority to make decisions about the direction of the product. The ScrumMaster and Product Owner should work closely together, but they must not be in a chain of command with each other – so that neither one is responsible for performing tasks assigned by the other.
The ScrumMaster helps resolve impediments (such as making sure that the Product Owner is available to make requirements decisions). The ScrumMaster will also ensure that issues of process, tools, and infrastructure are addressed so that the team can function at its highest efficiency; de-escalate conflicts between individuals or teams.
Artifacts In Agile Scrum Methodology
There are various artifacts in Agile Scrum Methodology. Each artifact has its particular characteristics. The following are the major artifacts used in Agile Scrum.
It is the list of requirements for a product. The Product Owner maintains this list and ensures that it stays ordered from the top priority items down, to the least. This list may change over time as more features are added or removed, so it must be reviewed continuously (at least each Sprint). Because there can be changes made to functionality by both the Product Owner and the Scrum Team, it is important that a shared understanding of what items are in the Product Backlog be maintained.
This is a list of tasks needed to deliver Increments of the product during each Sprint. The individual Scrum Team decides how they will divide up their work, and if necessary (incompatible tasks are identified) new Sprints may be created in which to perform these. When planning an increment no items from the Product Backlog should be added to the Sprint Backlog; these should only be estimated, prioritized, and ordered before each new increment is started.
A user story is a short, simple description of an application’s feature that helps developers clearly understand what they are to implement. The actual estimate comes from the development team and is based on their experience with similar requirements or stories in the past.
Product Burndown Chart
The product burn-down chart is a line graph that shows the remaining effort (vertical axis) at any point in time during the project. The y-axis on this chart should be measured using story points instead of hours because similar numbers of story points can have vastly different sizes.
Sprint Burn-Down Chart
The sprint burn-down chart is a line graph that shows the remaining work (vertical axis) at any point in time during the Sprint. The y-axis on this chart should be measured using story points instead of hours because similar numbers of story points can have vastly different sizes.
Release Burndown Chart
The release burn-down chart is a line graph that shows the remaining work (vertical axis) at any point in time during the project’s release. The y-axis on this chart should be measured using story points instead of hours because similar numbers of stories can have vastly different sizes.
Defect Burndown Chart
This chart shows the cumulative number of Defects that have been corrected during the project’s release. The y-axis on this chart should be measured using story points instead of numbers because similar numbers of stories can have vastly different sizes.
Meetings In Agile Scrum Methodology
A Scrum Team holds three types of meetings. They are Daily Stand Up, Sprint Review, and the Sprint Retrospective. The following are the attributes of each meeting:
Daily Stand up Meeting
The team meets for 15 minutes every day to share progress with one another and ensure that there is no roadblock in their way. The Scrum Master ensures that the team members participate in the meeting and at the end of this meeting, any impediment to a task or topic discussed should have been eliminated or placed onto an action item list for the next day.)
Sprint Review Meeting
The purpose of this meeting is to demonstrate what has been delivered so far, how the product owner feels about it, and to identify any further requirements. The Scrum Team uses this meeting to explain what they have achieved during the Sprint.
Sprint Retrospective Meeting
This is a two-hour meeting held after every Sprint that allows the team members and stakeholders (Product Owner and Scrum Master) to discuss what could have been done better, what to change or improve in the next Sprint.
When do we use Agile Scrum Methodology?
- When it is difficult to estimate a project’s size with precision
- When there are too many complexities involved in delivering the product
- When time-to-market and quality are important
- When customer involvement is crucial to the success of the project
Agile Scrum methodology is a lightweight, flexible, and iterative project management framework for managing complex product development. This methodology brings focus on working software over comprehensive documentation. It encourages rapid feedback, close collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams, and frequent inspection and adaptation.
It has many advantages of reducing waste due to the short life cycles, frequent software releases enabling customer feedback, and the basic approach of ‘crossing-the-finish line together’ to build a qualitatively high-quality product within an optimal amount of time.
Agile Scrum methodology is a good choice for small teams that need to deliver products early and often as well as work on complex projects with changing requirements.
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