When companies have a project where they can use the Agile project methodology, they can also use a framework called Scrum.
Instead of having a formulated project management methodology where roles are specifically defined and the process is rigidly applied, Scrum offers a 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.
There are three roles that are defined within the Scrum framework, product owners, development teams, and Scrum Masters.
- Product Owner - this person or persons decide on what product has to be delivered in the next thirty days or less, depending on the timelines. This could be the business owner, customers or end users, but will have the vision to get the team to build the right product.
- 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 person who oversees the process, ensures that the process is working, and improve the process if required.
The events in the scrum give the development team and the product owner an opportunity to share information so that there is on-going communication. There are a number of events that can occur during a period of time, usually thirty days or less, which is called the sprint.
- Sprint - this period of time contains the sprint planning meetings, daily scrums, the development work, the sprint review, and the sprint retrospective. During the sprint, there cannot be any changes to the goals and the development team should remain the same.
- Sprint Planning Meeting - this meeting is used to plan the work that needs to be performed during the sprint. The meeting is usually eight hours for a one month sprint and is proportionally less for shorter sprints. The meeting is divided into two, the first part determines the goals of the sprint, the second determines how the goal with be achieved.
- Daily Scrum - this is a short fifteen-minute meeting each day that allows the development team to plan the next day's work. The team reviews the work that has been completed in the previous day and forecast what can be achieved in the next twenty-four hours. The daily scrum is an opportunity to review where the team is in relation to the overall sprint goal. The scrum master makes certain that the daily scrum occurs and that the development team keep to a fifteen-minute maximum to ensure that the development team develops quick decision making.
- Sprint Review - at the end of the sprint, the review is used to evaluate what has been achieved during the sprint and to decide on what the next could be done in the next sprint. The sprint review is a four-hour event that allows the development team to communicate what were the highlights of the sprint, and what problems they found. Based on the communication between the development team and the product owner, a new set of deliverables are decided upon for the next sprint.
- Sprint Retrospective - this is a three-hour meeting where the whole scrum team can reflect on the sprint and create a plan for improvements which can be adopted for the next sprint. The meeting should look at people, relationships, process, and tools, as well as identify where improvements can be made.
To optimize project completion, the goal is to deliver results when those results were promised. And to accomplish that as effectively as possible. Using the scrum project management methodology is one tool to help you achieve that goal.
Updated by Gary Marion.