As the way teams work together changes from your typical office to hybrid models or even full-on remote work, new solutions for project management are arising. SCRUM probably sounds pretty familiar if you’ve been around people involved in software development or are a developer yourself. And while SaaS companies and other software-related businesses are the ones that use it the most, its principles and lessons can be applied to all kinds of teamwork. That is one of the reasons why it’s used by companies worldwide.
We know very well that it’s not always easy managing different teams working towards a common goal, and it’s challenging trying to keep up with fast-changing market trends. That is why we got a short guide for all those curious to find out what SCRUM is, how it works, and why you need it for your own business. Trust us; you’d want to catch up with this current trend.
SCRUM explained. Simply.
SCRUM got its name from rugby, representing a team training for the big game. This big game is a common goal in terms of business, usually the end product or service that employees in all departments work towards. No matter if you’re a manager or an intern, you probably know that it’s never easy to motivate different teams and shift everybody’s focus towards one objective. We’re talking about the idea of encouraging teams to learn through experiences, self-organize while working on a problem, and reflect on their wins and losses to improve continuously. That is, ladies and gentlemen, where SCRUM comes into play.
It is best defined as a framework used when a team needs to address complex problems and organize itself to deliver solutions of the highest possible value productively and creatively. It’s a fancy new way of making sure that each team is achieving its goal and a process of enabling smoother collaboration between two or more teams. And contrary to popular belief, SCRUM is not a methodology. It’s a scientific method, empiricism at its finest, with respect for people and self-organization to deal with unpredictable obstacles and complex problem-solving.
So, if this sounds like your cup of tea, let us introduce you to fundamental terms in SCRUM.
These values all point to the importance of the human factor and teamwork to achieve common goals. They create a sense of trust flowing from top to bottom, leaving team members enough room for self-organization and independent work.
- Courage – SCRUM team members dare to do the right thing and work on challenging problems.
- Focus – Everyone focuses on the work of the sprint and the goals of the SCRUM team.
- Commitment – People personally commit to achieving their goals.
- Respect – Team members respect each other to be capable, independent people.
- Openness – The team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work.
Events are the way you organize your work. They are the key points in your timeline when you reflect on the work done, identify obstacles, evaluate progress, and decide on your next steps. Unlike traditional project management, where they are subject to change, in SCRUM, they are a constant, and the work is organized around them, not the other way around.
The sprint is the main event which contains all the work and all other events. It is always of the same duration throughout the quarter or a whole year. It can’t be shortened or lengthened. In practice, it usually lasts two weeks.
This is where the whole team discusses which backlog items will be included in the sprint. At this stage, it’s crucial to prioritize and decide what actions should be accelerated and which pushed back or moved to another sprint.
Daily SCRUM is not always present in practice but can help in assessing progress. It’s usually a 15-minute time period where team members have a chance to present what was done the day before, as well as what they’ll do on that day.
At the end of each sprint, all teams get together and reflect on it. Each team presents what they’ve achieved, the roadblocks, and what they plan for the next sprint. It is an opportunity for teams to provide helpful feedback to each other, which can be implemented in future sprints.
There are also other events often used in practice, such as the sprint retrospective and epics. Both stand for a high-level overview of goals, i.e., projects, and have a much more extended period than the events mentioned above.
Do I really need SCRUM?
If you have multiple teams working on different aspects of a product – you need SCRUM. Simple as that. As soon as you implement it and do your first couple of sprint reviews, you’ll notice what benefits it brings to your internal processes, as well as those for your customers and product or service in general.
The first and most crucial benefit of SCRUM is adaptability. With the traditional approach, the project’s scope is constant, meaning that there are not many changes allowed. Even if they occur, implementing them takes time and effort, which many businesses can’t afford when facing agile competitors. With SCRUM, you can incorporate changes as they occur, with the project’s scope being variable but time and cost constant.
When speaking about costs, it’s necessary to mention that SCRUM allows you to prioritize those tasks that will most affect the return of investment. That means that you can release finished chunks of work once a sprint is over, rather than having customers wait months or even years for the result. Not only that, you’ll be able to respond to market demand faster by segmenting your work and adjusting to the market conditions at any given moment. The daily SCRUM and SCRUM reviews are of tremendous importance here, as they help your team address issues as they arise.
One of the further vital benefits is reduced risk of absolute project failure. Give it a thought – if you divide the work into sprints and release chunks of finished work, you’re forcing teams that will fail to fail early. Failure is inevitable, so it’s better to notice it sooner than later or even too late, right? Not only is it better for project management in general, but it’s also less expensive than realizing you’ve failed once that end product has already been distributed to customers.
In the end, let’s not forget about employee morale. With the SCRUM framework, team members work together towards a common goal with business value. It’s crucial to emphasize that a SCRUM team works as a whole rather than as a group of individuals. Also, there are no hierarchies in the SCRUM team; there is no boss to tell them what to do. Instead, they can self-organize as long as they deliver on time. All this makes members within a SCRUM team identify with the project as their own, resulting in a massive morale boost once a sprint is finished and the objective is achieved.
Traditional ways of organizing business, including 9-5 working hours and strict vertical hierarchy, are slowly dying out. Employees nowadays want their voices to be heard, they want to feel the impact of their effort. In addition to that, customers want solutions and updates delivered fast and without mistakes. These ideas are the very core of SCRUM.
If we’ve grabbed your attention with this and you wish to learn more, let us help you! Our team of experienced professionals will gladly assist you in setting up the SCRUM framework for your business as well.