What is agile SCRUM in software development?

Scrum is a word you hear a lot these days. Mainly in the development space. The term comes from rugby terminology. Where a team will jockey for position and sprint to victory with all they have got. In the world of software development, scrum has a similar use. It describes an agile framework for software development. At Twelfth Dream we prioritize an autonomous team of developers over one lead by one member. Agile software development defines the agile scrum framework. This article will also discuss the pillars of the agile scrum model. Having a framework for keeping track of tasks and the product backlog is important to productivity. Scrum prioritizes incremental progress over nebulous goals.

SCRUM in a nutshell

The backlog is divided into tasks that can be reasonably done within a sprint. A sprint can be a period of two to four weeks, with daily 15-minute meetings to track progress. These daily meetings allow the team to be ready for any issues along the way. They also serve as a check-in of sorts to keep track of the tasks completed and tasks for the day. Once a sprint is completed, a review and a retrospective are held. The review analyzes the work that done. Whereas the retrospective allows the team to improve for future sprints. At the end of each sprint, the completed work is showcased to stakeholders in a demonstration. This allows for feedback and a clear overview on the achievements and shortcomings of the team. Meaning the team can deliver visible progress while being adaptive and flexible.
agile scrum board demonstration Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

The Adaptability of Agile SCRUM

These attributes are vital when it comes to volatile circumstances. These circumstances include risks, impediments, dependencies, and assumptions, often referred to as RIDAs. The terminology is interesting and we will explore it further. It should also be noted that agile scrum does not only apply to software development. In fact, research, sales, and marketing teams use the framework. Since it applies to teams of 10 or fewer members, it is useful for maximizing efficacy with a small team. At Twelfth Dream, we have been able to deliver and maintain consistency by using this method. As you read along, you may even find ways to apply it to projects of your own.

Agile, in terms of software development

Agile software development means to be ready for factors that are not in the team’s control. Discovering the various needs and answering them through initiative and being cross-functional. Therefore, collaboration is key. It is where the foundations of the framework are rooted. A competent team can perform better than one with good tools. The main goal of software development in agile scrum is the making of the software and not documenting it. Documentation matters. It’s getting bogged down by it that can divert priorities. Agile also encourages collaborating with customers over contract negotiations. This allows a team to deliver what people need. In turn, making the outcome more practical. And the most important principal is rooted in responding to change. The world of software is constantly evolving. Platforms come and go. Coding languages get simplified or replaced. Agile advocates for a team’s ability to change course.

Putting adaptability over comprehensive planning. That is the secret weapon. These principles come from the 2001 Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Seventeen authors wrote the manifesto. There are 12 principles in the manifesto which can be found on its website. Many of which can be seen in the core of the Agile SCRUM framework. Other frameworks such as Kanban also use the Agile practices to manage productivity. Keeping the customer satisfied and aware with consistent software delivery. Next is, using change as a competitive advantage rather than a hurdle to overcome. The daily meetings mentioned earlier are also part of the principles. Putting trust in the team is another core part of the Agile framework. Sustainability, simplicity, and an emphasis on self-organization round out the basics. The Agile Manifesto is also presented in over languages on the website. In essence, highlighting its global impact and multifunctionality.

Sprints definition in Agile Scrum

A sprint is a period of two to four weeks where a series of tasks are completed. After which, a software demo allows the team to showcase what they have accomplished. A sprint begins with a planning meeting where acceptance criteria and the workload are established. The SCRUM Master determines the time window based on the tasks at hand. Then, throughout the period the team continues with daily 15-minute meetings. These meetings are about recapping what happened yesterday and what will be done today. The team members also mention any potential roadblocks or problems they foresee. The SCRUM Master then places the impediment on a shared risk board. Outside the meeting, a person is chosen to work towards a solution.

Team As A Service (TAAS) can discuss details outside the daily event. We have many meetings like this at Twelfth Dream. The meeting mainly serves to create a common picture of what is happening. While the board gets updated, the SCRUM Master may take feedback from the team as well. The rapport is established for them to have a pulse on how the team sees the project. If the team stops seeing value in any given goal, they must remedy the situation. A sprint ends with the review and retrospective. Following which, the backlog is refined for future sprints. It should be mentioned that the project manager and the SCRUM Master can stop a sprint. This could be due to new circumstances that make the sprint’s goals redundant. After a halted sprint, a new planning meeting determines the goals for the next one.

Benefits of the “Sprint” structure

These established periods bring versatility and resourcefulness. If a team is headed in the wrong direction, they can regroup and rethink. This saves time and costs. The sprint burndown chart is where the remaining tasks are tracked. Both the team and stakeholders can keep track of progress, creating transparency. By deploying this framework at Twelfth Dream, a Vancouver-based mobile app development company, we have been able to keep our customers satisfied and involved.

Why does Agile SCRUM work?

This question is relevant, given the difference of approach to traditional planning. In traditional software development, a plan is hatched and stuck to in perpetuity. Sure, if something goes drastically wrong changes will be made. The beauty Twelfth Dream has seen with agile scrum is the versatility it brings. If a certain path seems doomed, we can catch and modify at a much earlier stage. The constant feedback and collaboration allow for maximum efficiency. The code is being tested at all times. That is why a bug or conflict can be resolved much sooner. This will prevent frivolous use of time and resources. Another factor that sets the framework apart, is the value of time and money.

In a traditional environment, the project is constant, but time and money are variable. This leads to volatility in terms of losing ground in the market. Time is changing rapidly. Projects only releasing upon completion or 1.0 affect the time. What might have been thought to take two weeks may end up taking four. What might have cost a certain amount may be completed on time. But then there is a realization that it could use tweaks and edits. In an agile scrum framework, coders are paired and are constantly aware of the work being done. Here, the project becomes the variable.

The to-do portion of sprints ensures that tasks are completed based on importance. In return, the first few sprints yield more return on investment. This creates better user satisfaction or in the least, constructive feedback. The team is then able to implement the feedback in a frugal manner.

Where does SCRUM work?

As stated earlier, agile scrum has uses outside of the world of software development. Many projects with a team of 4 to 9 people can benefit immensely from implementing the framework. Because it promotes independence, it can help small teams with modern structures. The era of a single entrepreneur running a team is coming to a screeching halt. Investors are more interested in well-developed teams rather than one-man shows. Even though a team can have a natural leader, the idea that they would run the team makes investors question an investment. The adaptability of agile scrum creates an environment of collaboration and consistent results.

With collaboration comes compatibility. Progress becomes efficient when the team members work together and offer each other feedback. Through the process, members will pick up on the different departments at play. Member A will begin to learn more about what Member B does, and vice versa. Research projects can do great things with this model. So far, the sector to deploy the framework more than others is software development. This may have to do with the concept originating in this field. But, it is slowly catching on in other fields. The idea of daily meetings, sprints, reflection, and other parts of agile scrum can be adapted. Holding a backlog of tasks is a good idea for any team. And starting with the most important task and going down the list can prove productive. We hope you now have a better understanding of agile scrum and its benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What are other frameworks other than SCRUM?Scrum is one of the most convenient and popular projects management methods, but there are other alternative methods to take into account. Here is the list of five frameworks:

  • XP (extreme programming)
  • Crystal
  • Kanban
  • FDD (feature-driven development)
  • DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Methods)

2.In what case/situation/scenario is SCRUM effective? This framework is very flexible to be deployed for any project but functions satisfactorily in projects in which the outcome is a concrete product than a service.

3.Are any probable limitations regarding SCRUM? Although SCRUM is a beneficial tool for software teams, it has its particular disadvantages.Limitations are mentioned below:

  • In essence, SCRUM can not be done for a large team with intense collaboration (every task needs to be broken down)
  • Demanding on professional SCRUM masters
  • Project scope: if the project is not well defined or is complex, estimating project time and cost is challenging

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