Hey there, welcome to this detailed guide on scrum project management.
By the time you are done reading this article, you will not only understand what this methodology is all about, but you will also be 100% convinced whether it’s the best fit for your project.
In this article, you are going to learn:
Without further delay, let’s get started!
What Is Scrum Project Management?
Scrum is a type of agile project management that has been widely adopted.
More industries have embraced it for over a decade, and its popularity is not waning soon.
This is a form of an agile project management framework that involves small teams led by a scrum master whose focus is removing any forms of obstacles and getting the job done.
Other agile methods include lean development, extreme programming (XP), feature-driven development, and more.
During Scrum, work is then done in short cycles known as sprints.
When a sprint goal is achieved, it is known as an increment.
Daily meetings of the agile teams are also held to discuss current tasks and problems that need addressing.
Scrum project management is ideal for running projects that entail rapid development and testing, especially within a small team.
This agile methodology contributes to better responsiveness to customers, job satisfaction, lower development costs, continuous improvement, and more immediate returns.
In short, Scrum is a fluid practice that incorporates many moving parts, teams, and goals during its progression.
The four scrum ceremonies offer a targeted structure to each sprint, and they are:
- Sprint planning
- Daily standup
- Sprint demo
- Sprint retrospective.
Scrum is a vastly efficient process which could be attributed to the fact that it designates specific roles within its agile framework.
Scrum Project Management Value
Scrum is a proven and essentially adopted method when it comes to achieving software agility.
The short sprints used in working are repeated until enough work items have been fully completed, the budget is spent, or the deadline arrives.
In the end, the most valuable work is done, and that is when it is recognized as a successful project.
Scrum is starkly different from the traditional waterfall-style approach, which first creates the project scope, defines the project requirements, does extensive analysis and design documentation before the project takes off.
It is not uncommon to see delays and budget overruns happening with such a project management methodology.
This is because there is often the failure to prioritize the feature set resulting in low-quality products that comprise features that users don’t need.
Getting started with Scrum is more accessible than most people think.
You have to put a few key things in mind to get started.
Once it is off the ground and running, Scrum becomes one of the most sustainable and rewarding forms of productive project management.
Some easy steps to help you get started are as follows:
Step1: Single Out Members Of The Scrum Team
It is essential to consider who will be involved in your team.
You could begin by training a few individuals or take the bull by its horns and train an entire scrum team.
If you are training in Scrum for your career, then it would be best to go straight to step 2
Step 2: Get The Training And Certification
Getting formal training will equip you with the capability to become the best-certified scrum master or product owner.
If you want to expand your career with Scrum or be a better project manager with Scrum, then gaining a scrum master or scrum product owner certification is the best way to go.
How Scrum Project Management Works
How does scrum methodology work?
This approach to project management allows software development organizations to prioritize the essential work and break it down into manageable tasks.
Scrum is mostly about collaboration and communication with the team, getting the work done, and the people who need the job done.
It involves the delivery and response to feedback, business value increase by obtaining customer satisfaction.
The project team’s activities, artifacts, and roles make this methodology different from the traditional project management approach.
When most scrum teams begin, they use spreadsheets to manage the product backlog or task boards to see and update the state of tasks during a current sprint.
This could be a whiteboard with sticky notes.
This approach will be practical for small teams.
But, when the backlog increases and remote members access project visibility, most organizations will adopt more sophisticated tools to manage projects and make cross-team collaboration smooth centrally.
Scrum Project Management Activities
The scrum framework has been very effective so far because it depends on this framework that uses self-organizing teams focused on delivering complete products after fixed time frames.
The sprint is the primary activity in scrum project management methodology.
A sprint is simply a timeboxed iteration that lasts between 1-4 weeks, and the most common sprint length is usually two weeks.
At the end of every sprint, regular meetings are done with stakeholders and team members.
The purpose of the meetings is to reassess, debrief and plan the coming steps of the project.
During the sprint, the teams use visuals such as a scrum board and burndown charts to chart progress and review feedback, just like how it is done with the kanban boards.
Product owners, the Scrum Master, and the development team work together to design, manage and communicate to key stakeholders and team members.
These teams hold four kinds of scrum meetings crucial to the developmental process to make the project successful.
The four types of meetings are as follows.
Sprint Planning Meeting
At the beginning of every sprint, a planning meeting is held to discuss the work at hand.
The product owner then meets with the team to discuss the highest–priority tasks on the backlog.
The team members then decide on the number of tasks they can commit to and create a sprint backlog.
A sprint backlog is simply a list of the tasks to complete and review at the end of the sprint.
Daily Standup Meeting
Also known as the daily Scrum meeting, the sprint team members share what they worked on the previous day and the tasks they will work on today.
They then single out any impediments.
These daily scrums help synchronize the work team members’ work as they talk about the work on the sprint.
An ideal daily scrum meeting never takes more than 15minutes.
When a sprint ends, the team showcases the functionality added during the sprint.
This meeting intends to get feedback from the product owner, users, and other stakeholders who are offered the opportunity to review.
When each sprint comes to an end, the team takes part in a retrospective meeting for reflections on the sprint ends.
It singles out any opportunities available to improve the incoming sprint and achieve a newsprint goal.
Sprint scheduling also happens at this point.
Scrum Project Management Core Practices
Scrum practices are very effective when done right.
They are instrumental in managing and achieving goals that remain fluid throughout the process.
The Scrum artifacts represent the work that is put into the process of completing a specific project or sprint while at the same time offering transparency to the details of the product.
Scrum needs very few artifacts and focuses on software delivery and increasing business value.
The major scrum artifacts are as follows:
This is a list of the functionality that is added to the product.
The product backlog is given priority by the product owner, who constantly allows the team to work on the most significant features.
The list of tasks named by a Scrum team to be completed within a sprint is called sprint backlog.
This prioritized list of tasks that the team must complete within a sprint cycle.
Burndown charts are used to indicate the amount of work remaining in a sprint.
They offer an effective way to determine at a glance whether a sprint is on schedule to have all the planned work finished.
Scrum also uses additional tools and artifacts to obtain success during the development process.
Such tools include.
This describes a piece of project management software or software features from the customer’s viewpoint.
These stories give the specific variables that should be added to the software to reflect the use cases.
Things like the type of user, what they want, and why they want these things are detailed in the user stories.
Development teams use these user stories to create helpful code that reflects the needs of the customer.
A timebox is this set period within which a team works to complete a goal.
The timebox approach puts a stop to work when the time limit has run its course.
Timeboxed iterations are mainly used during Scrum to gauge progress and reset goals.
The Scrum Roles
Every scrum team has specially designated members who run certain pieces of the process, oversee certain variables and majorly contribute to the end product.
There are three significant roles in the agile scrum team.
This is the most knowledgeable person on the team.
The product owner has a deep understanding of the product’s business value.
Also known as the middleman, the PO communicates the needs of customers and stakeholders to the team of developers.
This person is also tasked with writing the user stories and giving them a priority.
However, when it comes to the product’s technical development, this person is not actively involved.
This is the team that is actively involved in the product’s technical development.
This team is involved in the analysis, code writing, testing, and technical communication that focuses on the user stories supplied by the product owner.
The cross-functional team is often made up of a 5-9 member group responsible for product development.
Also, Scrum teams are usually self-organized, and all members collaborate to get the work completed.
The Scrum Master is the one who helps in the progress of the Scrum team.
The scrum master responsibilities dictate that they work shoulder-to-shoulder with the product owner and the entire team to ensure smooth progress and zero distractions.
All communication to the development team from any non-team members originates from the scrum master.
Note that the scrum master and the traditional project manager are very different.
The scrum master does not offer any daily guidance to the team and assign tasks to individuals.
His primary role is eliminating any impediments that might hinder the progress of the team.
The Benefits of Scrum
So, what are the advantages of Scrum?
Some positives come with this methodology, and they are as follows:
Flexible and adaptable
The scrum approach is perfect, mainly when your project is shrouded in an uncertain environment where it is not easy to define the requirements and solutions accurately before project commencement.
This is because the scrum team can make changes to any part of the project without affecting output.
So, flexibility and adaptiveness are essential in setting the exact requirements of a project as it proceeds.
Enough time for marketing
The scrum approach makes it easy for faster delivery.
This creates enough time to market because the startup takes a short time.
Further development results in increased deliverables in specific solution sections without having to complete the whole project.
Creativity and innovation
Scrum focuses on creativity and innovation, which results in impressive and excellent quality overall output.
Creativity and innovation are essential with the current business environment increasingly becoming competitive and everyone working hard to achieve the best.
If a project management methodology emphasizes these two factors, then the chances of success are pretty high.
The scrum approach makes it easy for any changes to be made or problems dealt with and communicated as soon as they pop up.
This, in turn, will help lower expenses and increase quality production.
With sprints being short and tasks being broken down, you can quickly fix the mistakes in a timely fashion.
This prevents the scrum organization from experiencing any unnecessary and unplanned expenses.
Scrum methodology elicits commitment from workers to their work and creates transparency between the organization and its clients.
The daily meetings, regular check-ins, and defined roles allow insight into the project across teams.
This prevents any issues or misunderstanding and when problems arise, they are identified and dealt with before they affect the project’s progress.
Ultimately, such transparency results in trust and more long-term clients working with the business organization.
Multiple level motivation
The deadlines and expectations set in a scrum methodology motivate the teams to work hard and achieve their goals.
The team also gets motivated by the rewards that come with the timely completion of a task.
The great satisfaction in the job inspires better performance on future tasks.
Continuous feedback available
The scrum approach requires daily check-ins for progress reports.
The client also has expectations, and after verifying the requirements, they will give feedback.
The team also gives individual feedback, and continuous follow-ups of a project at every stage to ensure that the project is a success in the long run.
Room for changes
With the short iterations and constant feedback, any changes are made are easily accommodated.
The consistent sprints and work execution enable the software development teams to suggest and carry out any refinements during the scrum meetings.
Disadvantages of Scrum
There are various disadvantages to the agile scrum methodology, and they are as follows:
Fails to take project deadline into account
The scrum methodology ensures that the team members meet their expectations and meet their deadlines to achieve a certain amount of work.
However, this methodology doesn’t consider the project deadline, which could delay the whole project.
Only thrives best in small team environments
This methodology requires a team to work.
Therefore, at least three team members are appropriate to form a small group.
Small groups work best because the decision-making process is shorter.
However, it will not work in a larger team of more than ten members.
Larger teams could become challenging to manage.
Not ideal for a large and complex project
The scrum process favors small and medium-scale projects but will flop in certain instances where there are large and complex projects.
Even though scrum methodologies are specifically created for large and complex projects, the models are complicated to implement.
They might require extensive training and knowledge for the teams involved.
Knowledge and experience required
The lack of knowledge or expertise might ruin the system.
The wrong scrum master with little experience, for example, could result in a failed product.
Also, the whole scrum process will not work if the scrum master tries to control the team instead of overseeing the operations.
The scrum teams are small, and the roles are not neatly defined, which is why every team member needs to be familiar with all the scrum principles.
Team members who lack technical knowledge create problems for the team and might derail the team’s goals.
Not ideal for plan-driven approach projects
Scrum mainly works for products that don’t need extensive planning and strategies before executing the development process.
Instead, it focuses on customer feedback and other related procedures to work out the project development process.
A rigorous testing process for products
The scrum team needs to go through an extensive testing process to implement quality effectively.
The scrum process needs significant skills and judgment, which are crucial to delivering quality and conducting these extensive testing procedures.
This makes quality implementation very difficult.
How To Successfully Implement Scrum
Scrum works successfully in projects that are easy and flexible but at the same time clearly defined to meet goals and hit targets that the customer or stakeholders designate.
So how can you successfully implement Scrum?
Here are some valuable tips.
- During your sprint meetings, your discussion should focus on the current workflow by team members to achieve current goals.
Touch on the work expected on the next sprint during this discussion.
Allow the team to anticipate the work for the next sprint.
- Discussion should center on what was accomplished and what will be accomplished.
Combined efforts must be made to achieve success.
- Allow team members to single out stories on the task board as they highlight their objectives.
This enables them to focus on the sprint and prevents them from being distracted from the task at hand.
- Remote members must be included in the Scrum, and meetings should always include them to make sure every team member understands every aspect of the project.
- Have Shorter Scrum Meetings to save time.
The meeting should never take more than 15 minutes.
Ensure everything spoken at the meeting is related to the project, and everyone has understood what is expected of them.
- Adequate preparation by all scrum members is a must before the standup begins.
Teams should state what they achieved last time and what they intend to achieve next time.
The expectations will keep members focused and come prepared with answers.
Dedicated members should be rewarded for motivation purposes at the end of each sprint if possible.
Scrum project management methodology is a simple, lightweight, and very adaptable framework that many teams in various organizations can employ regardless of whatever project management tools they favor.
Adopting Scrum means continuous delivery of quality throughout the project lifecycle.
We have seen how Scrum effectively structures work, its many advantages, and disadvantages.
In the end, it is a methodology that will ensure every team member is productive and motivated even when working on complex projects.