Scrum in Software Development – a better way of building products.

10 Sep 2019

An Agile way to manage the project.

Instead of having a formulated project management methodology where roles are specifically defined and the process is rigidly applied, Newsoft offers a Scrum framework within which the team makes a lot of the decisions when they have to be made, rather than subscribing to a timeline.

The Scrum methodology was developed in the 1990s alongside the Agile methodology, as a method to allow teams to work together to get products developed. It offers only a small number of rules within the framework but allows complex projects to be completed in a short timeframe.

What is involved in Scrum Development?

The Scrum model suggests that projects progress via a series of sprints. In keeping with an agile methodology, sprints are timeboxed to no more than a month long, in our company it is most commonly two weeks.

Scrum methodology advocates for a planning meeting at the start of the sprint, where team members figure out how many items they can commit to, and then create a sprint backlog – a list of the tasks to perform during the sprint.

During an agile Scrum sprint, the Scrum team takes a small set of features from idea to coded and tested functionality. In the end, these features are done, meaning coded, tested and integrated into the evolving product or system.

On each day of the sprint, all team members should attend a daily Scrum meeting, including the ScrumMaster and the product owner. In Newsoft, this meeting is timeboxed to no more than 15 minutes. During that time, team members share what they worked on the prior day, will work on that day, and identify any impediments to progress.

The Scrum model sees daily scrums as a way to synchronize the work of team members as they discuss the work of the sprint.

At the end of a sprint, the team conducts a sprint review during which the team demonstrates the new functionality to the PO or any other stakeholder who wishes to provide feedback that could influence the next sprint.

Another activity in Scrum project management is the sprint retrospective at the end of each sprint. The whole team participates in this meeting, including the ScrumMaster and PO. The meeting is an opportunity to reflect on the sprint that has ended and identify opportunities to improve.

Scrum Roles

There are three roles that are defined within the Scrum framework, product owners, development teams, and Scrum Masters.

  • Product Owner – the person with the project vision, who breaks down the project into tasks and then prioritizes them, so everything meets the objectives and goals of the customer, market and organization.
  • Development Team – these are the people who will build the product and demonstrate their product to the product owner. There is no overall team leader; issues within the team are discussed by the team as a whole. The team members are generally cross-functional and everyone is involved in the product development.
  • Scrum Master – this is the expert who helps to make sure the project is following the Scrum framework. While they guide and coach the team, their responsibility is to process rather than the team.

One way to think of the interlocking nature of these three roles in this agile methodology is as a racecar. The Scrum team is the car itself, ready to speed along in whatever direction it is pointed. The product owner is the driver, making sure that the car is always going in the right direction. And the ScrumMaster is the chief mechanic, keeping the car well-tuned and performing at its best.

Pros and cons of Scrum

pros cons

Improved quality of project development

Training and skill required

Faster delivery of projects

Organizational transformation

High return of investment

Scalability

Building team characteristics

Integration with project

Generate required data

 


Pros:

  • Improved quality of product development. Using Scrum enables you to generate the required methodology for developing complex products in a simple way. The software team receives real time input and feedback from the customers and using this, they are able to constantly update the system as and when required. This provides room for improvement of the product quality on an immediate basis.
  • Faster delivery of project. Compared to the traditional methodologies, Scrum is able to complete and deliver the projects about 40% faster to the customers. As just in time and real time updates are provided as the project is in progress, every change that requires to be done is executed immediately after the tester gets the information.
  • High return of investment. This happens to be a continuation of the previous advantage of Scrum offering delivering projects in decreased time to market. Few defects that you encounter might cost your heavily, but the same can be remunerated easily. If there is a failure about to happen, it takes place at a fast rate, giving you the opportunity to save up on the cost you require to fix the damage.
  • Building team characteristics. Being a self-managed form of software development system, Scrum provides a chance for the members in the team to be creative and be hands-on throughout the project. Decisions are taken by every individual on the team, thereby giving them self-sufficiency in doing the work.
  • Generate required data. When using Scrum, the required metrics and the data for calculating the time and cost for the project and for taking other decisions are provided as and when required. Unlike other software systems generating the irrelevant data along with the relevant metrics, Scrum is able to distinguish and provide the developers with the required information for completing the project.

Cons:

  • Training and skill required. A Scrum approach requires a considerable amount of training and skill to implement successfully.  Many project teams don’t fully understand the need for training and skill or don’t want to put the effort into it. They attempt to do Agile/Scrum mechanically without fully understanding the principles behind it and that is typically not very effective.

  • Organizational transformation. A Scrum approach may also require some level of organizational transformation to make it successful.  It requires the business users to work collaboratively with the development team in a spirit of trust and partnership.  That may require breaking down some organizational barriers that make that difficult or impossible to do.
  • Scalability. It can be difficult to scale an Agile/Scrum approach to large, complex projects.  There are some models for doing that (Scrum-of-Scrums, LeSS, and SAFe are examples) but none of those are a cookbook solution that are easy to implement.
  • Integration with project/program management. A Scrum approach may not be totally appropriate for projects that require a more plan-driven approach to achieve some level of predictability. However, there are many ways to create a hybrid approach that blends a traditional plan-driven approach and an Agile/Scrum approach in the right proportions to fit the situation.

We recommend a client to use  Scrum to manage complex software and product development projects that last more than 3 months, using iterative and incremental practices. Scrum significantly increases productivity and reduces time to benefits relative to classic “waterfall” processes. Scrum processes enable organizations to adjust smoothly to rapidly-changing requirements and produce a product that meets evolving business goals.

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