Project management evolved during the past decades, and today we have thousands of different methodologies project managers use daily. Some of these methods are more popular than others, and they are for two reasons – they work, or they work better. There are plenty of project management tools, like the problem statement template or to-do list templates that can help any business to work better.
One such methodology, or rather a group of methodologies, is agile project management. One of the most effective and popular frameworks of agile is Scrum. If you never educated yourself on this matter, you might be wondering – what is Scrum, and how is it related to project management? This article will scratch the surface and give you some basics.
Agile Project Management
Agile project management is an iterative approach to delivering a project throughout its life cycle. This doesn’t tell much to most people when they hear it for the first time, so there is a neat example. Let’s say the project is going on a walk.
Instead of focusing on the goal of reaching the final destination where you want your walk to finish, you will instead concentrate on the vision of the walk. Sounds a bit abstract, right? Well, the vision should be like that. It is a fuel that powers your action.
The idea of being agile is to evolve towards the target rather than having a fixed target. It is about acknowledging that the journey will bring a new reality and that you should be ready to learn and adapt.
Agile is a way of project management step by step, slowly going in the desired direction without fear of exploring new options and possibilities.
Feedback Is the Key
Now that we have a clearer idea about agile, let’s see how Scrum fits into it. Scrum is a framework for solving complex problems in the most efficient, productive, and creative way. This is a simplified definition, but to understand what Scrum is, you will have to understand the roles in Scrum. We will get there. Let’s first discuss feedback.
Most people believe that feedback can be positive and negative. The reality is that it is great to stay as objective as possible when it comes to business, so removing this label is a great idea. After you forget about concepts of something being good or bad, or positive and negative, looking at facts, alone or with your team, will be much easier and more efficient.
In Scrum, feedback is often given after parts of the work are done. If we take our taking a walking example, it would be stopping and observing your surroundings and doing a sort of reality check. This way, you will get the newest version of reality and easier decide on the next steps.
Before you put on your running shoes and go outside to practice for the next marathon (which we highly recommend), we want to introduce you to a different type of sprinting – the Scrum sprint. If we implement the Scrum framework in our take-a-walk project, the whole walk would be divided into multiple sprints, each long one to four weeks.
This setup allows us and our team to take as many benefits of being agile while not wandering too much from the desired direction. Let’s dive into standard sprint-related terms to clarify things a bit more.
The sprint review aims to review, assess and adapt the output that the team created during the previous sprint. The days of sprint reviews serve as an internal timeline for the development team to make sure they create and/or improve the demo of the final output.
Again, this serves as a reality check since everybody involved has the same information on where the project is standing. Does the client want to get involved? Great! Get them to come. All of the Scrum team should come to the sprint review.
Compared to the review, where the accent is on what has been done, in the retrospective, the accent is on how it was done and what we can improve for the next time. Here we are already scratching the surface of planning the next sprint by acknowledging what factors have been troubling during the past sprint and what are actionable improvements for the future.
Sprint Planning Meeting
After one sprint comes another, but before it, there is a sprint planning meeting. As the name suggests, it is a meeting in which involved team members will decide what should be handled during the next sprint.
To somehow wrap up the whole story, it is a great time to reveal mysterious characters in our story finally! Scrum has three roles:
- Scrum Master ensures that the methodology is followed while facilitating Scrum to a larger team.
- The product owner ensures that the delivered demos fit the project’s aims. It can even be the end user of what is being created.
- The team is composed of five to nine individuals, out of which one is a scrum master and one is a product owner.
Imagining, creating, and delivering something can be an enjoyable, beneficial and inspirational journey. Enriching it with an agile framework like Scrum could be a great idea. We hope you learned something and that you will make a change in your team and test such methodology.