Agile Scrum

 Leaders need an agile process for their growth. Scrum methodology could be the answer.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together. Much like a rugby team (where it gets its name) training for the big game, Scrum encourages teams to learn through experiences, self-organise while working on a problem, and reflect on their wins and losses to continuously improve.

While the Scrum I’m talking about is most frequently used by software development teams, its principles and lessons can be applied to all kinds of teamwork. This is one of the reasons Scrum is so popular. Often thought of as an agile project management framework, Scrum describes a set of meetings, tools, and roles that work in concert to help teams structure and manage their work.

agile growth agents

Scrum: An Agile Way To Manage Growth

Scrum is an agile way to manage a project. Those who embrace this don’t just fix the product, they fix the process too.


As your company grows, you need to be in a position to expand and grow easily and painlessly. Especially in smaller companies. For example when you have a small startup, usually roles are quite vague and people generally do whatever it takes to get things done. This is fine in the early days because you need to move fast and deliver, but as you grow this is not a sustainable model.

You will find there will start to be conflict, people stepping on each other’s toes which is only resolved usually by assigning roles and responsibility.

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Scrum Overview In Software Development

At the start of each sprint, the team selects some amount of work from the product backlog and commits to completing that work during the sprint. Part of figuring out how much they can commit to is creating the sprint backlog, which is the list of tasks (and an estimate of how long each will take) needed to deliver the selected set of product backlog items to be completed in the sprint.

At the end of each sprint, the team produces a potentially shippable product increment — i.e. working, high-quality software. Each day during the sprint, team members meet to discuss their progress and any impediments to completing the work for that sprint. This is known as the daily scrum, and is shown as the smaller green circle above.

What’s The Philosophy Behind Scrum?

Scrum’s early advocates were inspired by empirical inspect and adapt feedback loops to cope with complexity and risk. Scrum emphasizes decision making from real-world results rather than speculation. Time is divided into short work cadences, known as sprints, typically one week or two weeks long. The product is kept in a potentially shippable (properly integrated and tested) state at all times. At the end of each sprint, stakeholders and team members meet to see a demonstrated potentially shippable product increment and plan its next steps.

Scrum is a simple set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings that never change. By removing unnecessary unpredictability, we’re better able to cope with the necessary unpredictability of continuous discovery and learning.

 

SCRUM ROLES

 

SPRINT BACKLOG

The sprint backlog is a list of tasks identified by the Scrum team to be completed during the Scrumsprint. During the sprint planning meeting, the team selects some number of product backlog items, usually in the form of user stories, and identifies the tasks necessary to complete each user story. Most teams also estimate how many hours each task will take someone on the team to complete.

 

DAILY SCRUM

Daily Scrum is a fixed time, fixed place event that allows Development Team to synchronise and plan work for the next 24 hours based on the amount of work done since the last Daily Scrum. During Daily Scrum, Development Team members explain:

  • What did I do yesterday that helped towards Sprint Goal?
  • What am I going to do today towards my Sprint Goal?
  • What Impediments I see towards accomplishing my Sprint Goal?

Daily Scrum usually lasts for 15 minutes, but can be followed by other meetings for detailed discussions.

 

PRODUCT OWNER

The Product Owner should be a person with vision, authority, and availability. The Product Owner is responsible for continuously communicating the vision and priorities to the development team.

It’s sometimes hard for Product Owners to strike the right balance of involvement. Because Scrum values self-organization among teams, a Product Owner must fight the urge to micro-manage. At the same time, Product Owners must be available to answer questions from the team.

 

SCRUM MASTER

The Scrum Master acts as a facilitator for the Product Owner and the team. The Scrum Master does not manage the team. The Scrum Master works to remove any impediments that are obstructing the team from achieving its sprint goals. This helps the team remain creative and productive while making sure its successes are visible to the Product Owner. The Scrum Master also works to advise the Product Owner about how to maximise ROI for the team.

 

THE TEAM

According to Scrum’s founder, “the team is utterly self managing.” The development team is responsible for self organising to complete work.

A Scrum team contains between 3-9 fully dedicated members, ideally in one team room protected from outside distractions.

Each sprint, the team is responsible for determining how it will accomplish the work to be completed. The team has autonomy and responsibility to meet the goals of the sprint.

Agile Scrum: Team Organisation – Squads, Chapters and Tribes

A squad (scrum team) will have a dedicated product owner who will feed them user stories to build. This is the pretty standard set up for any organisation doing scrum. These squads sit together and have one long term mission.

They have all the skills and tools needed to design, develop, test and release to production, being an autonomous, self-organising team who are experts in their product area.

Many companies utilise scrum methodology; Spotify being the most famous at the moment and a shining example of Agile

Spotify goes quite granular with its teams

Squads are grouped together in what they call ‘Tribes’. These are a collection of squads within the same business area, for example there could be a tribe focusing on mobile.

The squads within a tribe sit in the same area, and there are usually 100 or less per tribe. Spotify implements such things as shared lounges to create inter-squad interaction, and regular informal team events and get together where the squads share what they are working on. There is a role of Tribe Leader who is responsible for providing the right environment for all the squads.

Scrum is a simple set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings that never change. By removing unnecessary unpredictability, we’re better able to cope with the necessary unpredictability of continuous discovery and learning.

 

Agile Scrum Spark Better Business

As a client, what do you choose? You’re looking for some help with branding, so you might go to a Design Agency.

You need to refresh your website, so you might go to a Digital Agency. Who knows whether going to a Creative Agency in the first place would have saved you the bother of going to the first two? What about marketing? Well, a Marketing Agency is where you go, of course. But then the team there proceed to rubbish the decisions you made about your website and complain about the branding being flat. Is there another way of going about things?

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