Agile 101 - Scrum Framework - Project Management

This article gives you brief introduction about Scrum framework - Agile Project Methodology.

What is Scrum?

1. Scrum is one of the agile methodologies designed to guide teams in the iterative and incremental delivery of a product. Often referred to as “an agile project management framework”.
2. Traditional project management methods fix requirements in an effort to control time and cost; Scrum on the other hand, fixes time and cost in an effort to control requirements. This is done using time boxes, collaborative ceremonies, a prioritized product backlog, and frequent feedback cycles.
3. The involvement of the business throughout the project is critical as Scrum relies heavily on the collaboration between the team and the customer or customer representative to create the right product in a lean fashion.

The Scrum Framework

Activities in Scrum Project Management

The main activity in Scrum project management is the Sprint, a time boxed iteration that usually lasts between 1-4 weeks, with the most common sprint length being 2 weeks.

Sprint Planning Meeting:

At the start of each sprint a planning meeting is held to discuss the work that is to be done. The product owner and the team meet to discuss the highest-priority items on the product backlog. Team members figure out how many items they can commit to and then create a sprint backlog, which is a list of the tasks to complete during the sprint.

Daily scrum or daily standup:

Each day during the sprint team members share what they worked on the prior day, will work on today, and identify any impediments. Daily scrums serve to synchronize the work of team members as they discuss the work of the sprint. These meetings are time boxed to no more than 15 minutes.

Sprint Review:

At the end of a sprint the team demonstrates the functionality added during the sprint. The goal of this meeting is to get feedback from the product owner and any users or other stakeholders who have been invited to the review.

Sprint Retrospective:

At the end of each sprint the team participates in a retrospective meeting to reflect on the sprint that is ending and identify opportunities to improve in the new sprint.

Artifacts in Scrum Project Management

Scrum Project Management requires very few artifacts, concentrating instead on delivering software that produces business value. The main artifacts in Scrum are:

Product Backlog:

This is a complete list of the functionality that remains to be added to the product. The product backlog is prioritized by the product owner so that the team always works on the most valuable features first.

Sprint Backlog:

This is a prioritized list of tasks the team needs to complete during the sprint.

Burndown charts:

These are used to show the amount of work remaining in a sprint and provide an effective way to determine at a glance whether a sprint is on schedule to have all planned work finished.

Roles on a Scrum team

There are three main roles involved in Scrum project management:
The Product Owner serves as the customer proxy and is responsible for representing the interests of the stakeholders and ensuring that the product backlog remains prioritized.

The ScrumMaster is responsible for implementing the Scrum. A ScrumMaster differs from a traditional project manager in many key ways, including that the ScrumMaster does not provide day-to-day direction to the team and does not assign tasks to individuals. A key part of this role is to remove impediments or issues that might slow the team down or stop activity that moves the project forward.

The Team is made up of a cross-functional group of 5-9 members who are responsible for developing the product. Scrum teams are self-organized will all members collectively responsible for getting the work done.

Scrum Pros

Scrum can help teams complete project deliverables quickly and efficiently:
Scrum ensures effective use of time and money
Large projects are divided into easily manageable sprints
Developments are coded and tested during the sprint review
Works well for fast-moving development projects
The team gets clear visibility through scrum meetings
Scrum, being agile, adopts feedback from customers and stakeholders
Short sprints enable changes based on feedback a lot more easily
The individual effort of each team member is visible during daily scrum meetings

Scrum Cons

Nothing is perfect, and the Scrum methodology is no exception. In some cases, Scrum is combined with other project management techniques that can help resolve some of these drawbacks:
Scrum often leads to scope creep, due to the lack of a definite end-date The chances of project failure are high if individuals aren't very committed or cooperative
Adopting the Scrum framework in large teams is challenging
The framework can be successful only with experienced team members
Daily meetings sometimes frustrate team members
If any team member leaves in the middle of a project, it can have a huge negative impact on the project
Quality is hard to implement, until the team goes through aggressive testing process



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