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Agile Methodologies: Scrum

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Agile Methodologies: Scrum

This article will look at Scrum, an agile methodology that has been widely used within companies, mainly for software development.

Introduction to Scrum

Why does a company that works with Digital Marketing write articles about agile methodologies? If you're curious to find out, scroll to the end of the article!

Scrum began in the 1980s with Hirotaka Takeuchi and Nonaka Ikujiro who defined a flexible strategy for product development in which the team seeks to achieve a single common goal.

The name comes from the movement of the Rugby players, where the Scrum ("restart movement") has all the players together, forming a unit capable of moving the ball forward.

In the following years, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland developed its applicability to software development at a conference in 1995 in Austin, Texas.

So, what is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework used to manage agile development projects, which involves the collaborative effort of a team to create a new product, service or other result.

Its use began with applications in software companies, but it is increasingly being applied in other types of companies. It has become popular because of its adaptability, iterativeness and efficiency, capable of delivering significant value to the organization quickly throughout the project.

The use of cross-functional teams e self-organized that divide tasks into short cycles, known as sprintshas become one of the methodology's strong points.


Figure 1: Scrum flow for a Sprint

Source: 2016 SCRUMstudy™.

Product Backlog

In a project, such as the creation of a chatbot for a company, it all starts with defining the requirements and skills (skills) needed for the solution. In a Scrum project, by gathering the requirements together with the project's stakeholders, a list of priorities known as the Product Backlog;

 

Sprint

Once all the requirements have been gathered, the project can be developed incrementally and divided into cycles with a variable duration of up to one month, periods called Sprints. Once you have the prioritized list of all the requirements (Product Backlog) and the definition of the duration of the Sprint, to start developing the solution, the Scrum methodology says that it is necessary to plan which portion of the requirements will be executed in the next cycle;

 

Sprint Backlog

Within the Scrum method, the act of planning the next Sprint occurs frequently until the end of the project. This is known as Sprint Planning and gives rise to the Sprint Backlog - from which tasks are "subtracted" from the Product Backlog; 

 

Daily Scrum

Once the items to be developed in the Sprint have been defined, the monitoring and alignment of communication about the project is done through the Daily Scrum. The main idea of this Scrum event is for each person involved in the project to give a brief overview of the progress of the activities for which they are responsible. At the end of each Sprint, it is advisable to hold two Scrum events to monitor and control the project's performance: Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective;

 

Sprint Review and Retrospective

Finally, the Sprint Review aims to evaluate the objectives objectives and adaptr, if necessary, the Product Backlog. The Sprint Retrospective aims to evaluate, together with the team involved in the project, the positive and negative that happened in the cycle that is coming to an end.

Team members

This methodology is made up of 3 typical characters: the scrum master, o product owner and the development team.

Scrum Master

He is responsible for facilitating interactions between Scrum team members and their work, removing impediments, teaching Scrum methodology and being an agent of organizational change.

In this way, the Scrum Master protects the team, ensuring that they don't commit themselves beyond what they can achieve during a sprint. The Scrum Master facilitates the Daily Scrum and becomes responsible for removing any obstacles that are brought up by the team during these meetings and ensuring the quality of the team.

The role of Scrum Master is usually filled by a project manager or technical team leader, but it can be anyone 

 

Product Owner

The Product Owner is someone who prioritizes the Product Backlog and has the authority to define the product incrementally. The Scrum Team looks at the prioritized Product Backlog, working on the priority items and committing to completing them during a sprint. These items form the Sprint Backlog, mentioned earlier

In exchange for their commitment to complete the selected tasks (which, by definition, are the most important to the Product Owner), the Product Owner commits not to release new requirements to the team during the sprint. Requirements can change (and change is encouraged) but only outside the sprint.

Once the team starts a sprint, it remains focused on the goal of that sprint. As Matt Gelbwaks pointed out, the Product Owner is responsible for concepts and ideas (e.g. the backlog) while the Scrum Master is responsible for execution and quality, so the Product Owner wants more resources while the Scrum Master is focused on doing and therefore both roles should be exercised by different people. 

 

Development Team

The Development Team is a multidisciplinary group (typically between 3-9 people) responsible for carrying out the product's development work. Based on the priorities defined by the Product Owner, the Development Team generates, in each Sprint, an product increment readyaccording to the "definition of ready", and which means visible value for the project's customers.

The Development Team self-manages its product development work. It technically determines how the product will be developed, plans this work and monitors its progress. To this end, it has ownership and authority over its decisions and, at the same time, is responsible for their results. 

 Figure 2: Scrum flow for a Sprint

Source: 2016 SCRUMstudy™.

 

Scrum principles

The Scrum Principles are the fundamental guidelines for applying the Scrum framework and must be used in all Scrum projects.

These are: Empirical Process Control, Self-Organization, Collaboration, Value-Based Prioritization, Time-boxing and Iterative Development.

Figure 3: Scrum flow for a Sprint

Source: 2016 SCRUMstudy™.

1. Empirical Process Control

The principle of Empirical Process Control emphasizes the core philosophy of Scrum based on three main ideas: transparency, inspection and adaptation. 

 

2. Self-organization

The Self-Organization principle focuses on an organization's current employees, who deliver significantly more value when they are self-organized. And this results in more satisfied teams and shared responsibility, and an innovative and creative environment that is more conducive to growth. 

 

3. Collaboration

The Collaboration principle focuses on the three basic dimensions related to collaborative work: awareness, articulation and ownership. It also defends project management as a process of creating shared value, with teams working and interacting together to achieve better results. 

 

4. Value-based prioritization

The principle of Value-Based Prioritization highlights Scrum's focus on delivering as much business value as possible throughout the project.  

 

5. Time-boxing

The Time-boxing principle describes how the time is considered a limited constraint in Scrum, and how it is used to help manage project planning and execution effectively.

The elements of Time-boxing in Scrum include: the Sprints, the Daily Meetings, the Sprint Planning Meeting, and the Sprint Review Meeting.

 

6. Iterative development

This principle defines iterative development and emphasizes how to better manage change and create products that meet customer needs. It also outlines the responsibilities of the Product Owner and the organization in relation to iterative development. 

 

Difference between Scrum and the Waterfall Management Model

The following table summarizes the differences between Scrum and traditional project management models

Table 1 - Scrum vs. the Traditional Project Management Model

Source: A Guide to SCRUM KNOWLEDGE (SBOK™ Guide), 2016 Edition.

 

Scrum in Digital Marketing

Just as software development has a complex management system, Digital Marketing can also be interpreted in the same way. And the Pareto Quantic is an excellent Marketing Management tool, through the Marketing Board.

Within Workflow, we have the Marketing Boardwhich is a task manager that uses the Scrum model to organize your tasks on an automated Kanban board. It allows you to manage your team, with a view of tasks, prioritization, story points per card and suggestions for optimizing Quantic to increase execution efficiency and man-hours (h/h).

If you work with several clients, or have a portfolio of projects, the Marketing Board organization can give you an overview of how activities are going and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your team.

 

Want to know more about Scrum? We recommend the following readings:

 - Scrum. The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. Author: Jeff Sutherland.

- A Guide to SCRUM KNOWLEDGE (SBOK™ Guide), 2016 Edition.

 

Check out these other articles from the Pareto Blog that might interest you:

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