Product and project failures are not new to the business world. About 80% of new products in many consumer market segments do not do well in the market. A significant number of projects in almost all sectors usually exceed time estimates and overrun budgets.
One of the major reasons for project and product failures is the methodologies organizations follow to capture requirements and plan their operations. It is widely documented that the traditional waterfall model – based on sequential processes - does not hold.
Scrum (a term borrowed from Rugby game) is a new method of accomplishing more results in less time. The two distinguishing characters of Rugby are: it is organized around small teams (usually about 7 members) and is based on what is known as sprint, “a short, sustainable burst of activity with plenty of time for review and reflection built in”.
The key highlights of Scrum are team collaboration; focus on delivering potentially shippable product or product features; daily review/standup meetings to check the progress regularly; and stakeholder interaction that ensures that developers and customers are on the same page when every product feature gets added or project milestone/goal gets achieved.
How does Scrum work?
The Scrum workflow consists of six broad stages. It begins with product backlog. The product backlog is a list of all to-dos required to complete a project or develop a product. The to-do lists are written as user stories. The stories capture the requirements of users mostly in their own language.
The second stage of a Scrum project is planning. The team plans about all aspects of how the to-dos in the product backlog can be done.
The most important to-do is selected as a sprint. The sprint is a specific activity to create a minimum viable product within a specified time. Usually sprint schedules are short, anywhere from four hours to four weeks. However, the important criterion is that every sprint is designed to result in a potentially shippable product or product feature.
The execution of work starts next. The team reviews the progress every day (daily Scrums or standup meetings) and makes sure that the project is heading in the right direction. Finally, the sprint activity produces a result. It could be a product or product feature that the customer gets to see and review. The project ends when all to-dos in product backlogs are accomplished.
Every Scrum project has a Product Owner, Scrum Master and team members. The product owner’s primary responsibility is to prepare the user stories/to-dos. He or she decides what to-dos would bring the most value to the project and organizes those things get done first, and decide on the overall direction of the project. While that of the Scrum Master is to facilitate the progress of the project. The Scrum Master may not have a management
Why Scrum is different?
Scrum gives more importance to people than process. It achieves business goals on the strength of teamwork, regular communication and common sense. Scrum has born out of the belief that no one should spend their lives in doing meaningless work. It makes work people centred, and processes sane and enjoyable.
User stories are written in a way that captures the needs of customers or end users in natural language with all the emotions in it. As all decisions are taken with the involvement of the whole team, every member is empowered. The entire team feels the ownership.
Who can take up the course?
Scrum is used in all industries and in making all types of products - from software to space ships. If you are associated with an organization at any managerial levels or if you are a project manager, training in Scrum and all its methodologies will change the way you work, plan and think. Synergy offers basic and advanced Scrum courses. The courses are delivered by certified Scrum trainers. Check out the list of courses currently available.