Scrum Practices For Project Management 2021

No secret, whenever teams toil up on some complicated tasks, there is lots of unexpected stuff that comes up right away. This can be really annoying, for sure. Besides, it’s really hard to adapt quickly to most of these unexpected aspects and keep a good balance. In turn, losing a balance can drive everything to the wrong product development afterward. That’s why businesses utilize Scrum whenever efficient work processes need to be developed. This framework enables handling projects effectively in complex contexts.

This framework promotes the concept of timeboxing (sprints) and suggests not to work intermittently. This approach enables effective collaboration in teamwork while and easy planning. Teams identify and establish the exact time frame for getting everything done without delays. Once the timebox is up, Scrum suggests taking a step back for evaluating what you’ve created so far. 

Scrum is a way to manage software development that relies on small teams which prefer to work interdependently. It emphasizes a real-time decision-making process. Most importantly, Scrum allows shipping working software in regular intervals. Also, it is used effectively outside of the IT world. If you adapt it well. Read this blog post, if you want to learn more about the Scrum framework and find out how it benefits your team management processes.

Historical Facts Behind The Scrum Framework

In 1986 Scrum was first referred by Takeuchi and Nonaka in their collaborative work titled The New New Product Development Game. Basically, this published monograph was an evaluation of a good number of different businesses to see what methods they used for promoting new products/services successfully. 

Among surveyed companies were such large corporations like Fuji, Xerox, Canon, 3M, and Honda. A final conclusion was that all these companies used similar patterns. So, these patterns were written down for further evaluation and drawing an analogy between them.

In actuality, initially, Scrum was used back in 1993 by the guy named Jeff Sutherland who worked for Easel Co. He utilized Scrum for software development purposes. Jeff collaborated with Ken Schwaber (Scrum co-сreator). After they’ve turned Scrum development mindset into something more formal, it was presented in 1995 to the Object Management Group.

Then there was W. Edwards Deming who popularized the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle, which is also known as the “Shewhart or Deming cycle”. It was based on the scientific method as described by Francis Bacon in 1620. Deming’s philosophy revolved around repeating a PDCA cycle where the primary focus was on the quality which was expected to increase with time. 

As for the cost of the product, this was expected to decline over time. So, meetings within Scrum maps went almost directly onto a different stage of the Deming Cycle, which has to be repeated continuously.

Let’s Talk What Scrum Is Good For

Scrum is a framework utilized for developing and then maintaining a consistent rate of work in complex projects, programs, or portfolios since this stuff is usually heavily dependent on the rapidly changing needs of stakeholders or businesses.

Scrum teams are typically small in size. If a scrum team has more than 3 to 9 members, it is typically broken into additional scrum teams in order to complete the work in the most efficient way. Smaller teams can knowledge-share more easily than larger teams.

A project is a collaborative effort to produce a feature, product, or service based on a vision statement and customers’ value. But Scrum’s direct focus is on a project itself – no matter what kind of project is going on.

Scrum’s primary principles that work effectively in teamwork are:

  • Self-organization
  • Time-boxing
  • Collaboration/interactivity
  • Ranking (based on value)


So, you’ll need to have all these pillars mentioned above to function effectively. If your team achieved self-sustained development and smoothly cooperating with units outside the development – then your work project is safe! And everything will go much quicker and at a lower cost.

If business owners ended up having bad products or final outcomes, prioritization can become rather misguiding and hard to follow. Consequently, teams can stop building islands of functionality if they don’t have any reasonable structure for given tasks. As a result, most efforts can be vain just because they have to be dealt with constantly. In collaboration with a Scrum master, you can do a better job. But if he is not able to be the team-builder, the team will fall apart becoming just a bunch of unmotivated individualists who look at the necessity to collaborate and interact as simply a loss of time.

What Are The Advantages Of Scrum Methodology?

Scrum works brilliantly when all the task time estimates at the sprint planning session turn out to be very close to actual values at the end. 

Here is a quick chart of aspects the Scrum framework works best for:

  • Current codebases that need to be modified
  • Vague/miscommunicated feature requirements
  • Unidentified quirks or defects in libraries, toolchains, external integrations, etc.
  • Adverse interactions that take place in system components
  • Personality conflicts
  • Poor code quality practices
  • Unreadable current code
  • Brittle current tests
  • No existing tests
  • New team developers
  • New toolchains, languages, libraries

Below is a list of things that can be integrated into Scrum’s methodology. Essentially, once you have fully de-risked every detail of the project, you will no longer benefit from an Agile mindset.

Velocity. Scrum provides a very easy way to calculate velocity (an actual rate at which the team accomplishes the task). 

Realistic expectations. This adds another critical layer. Most executives and stakeholders simply want to know, “what can you do by when?” Unfortunately, many engineering teams have struggled to answer this fundamental question to a level that’s acceptable to the business.

With Scrum, you can provide an acceptable answer to this question if you have such things as velocity, a complete backlog (at least for the feature or release you’re targeting), and a scoped backlog. Having this information on hand, you should be able to publish a reasonably accurate Product Roadmap on a regular basis.

Cross-functionality in teamwork. Teams are effective if teams are working productively together moving along towards a common goal. In this case, both Agile, as well as Scrum are recommended for making teams work cross-functional. This really helps to focus on achieving the Goal and thinking about what’s the best for the company. No doubt, this approach is much better and productive rather than dwelling on internal processes and infighting.

How Do You Make Scrum Work For Project Management?

Since Scrum is used for effective communication practices, making it “work” means following particular rules. If you’re asking how you would excel at Scrum, then understand and recognize how Scrum supports an Agile mindset. But real business agility requires an organizational Agile mindset which is a bigger deal.

There are many examples of successful Scrum teams out there that were going nowhere and didn’t achieve expected results. When the entire organization or at least the value stream don’t share a common focus and purpose, then Scrum isn’t going to matter anyway. Yes, it will streamline at least some work and help developers to become somewhat more effective. But Agile is about more than that. Look at some bullet points that will tell you what to do:

  • Remove dependencies and impediments for getting closer to your customer with aggressive feedback loops and a willingness to adjust and change. In other words – be agile!
  • Learn rapidly how to recognize mistakes and what risks need to be taken. This means – whenever a good idea comes along, it will be rapidly funded and implemented.
  • Focus on collaborative outcomes instead of dwelling on individual outputs. This is more important if you’re really interested in seeing this working properly. Keep on improving leadership, clear purpose, and culture of enabling autonomy and safety with alignment and incentives.
  • Determine your current situation. Evaluate what is happening with the team, at what stage of the project, what resources are missing, etc. Make a “snapshot” of the workflow at the moment. It is desirable to write it all out in the form of a separate mind-map. This will help you structure all your thoughts.
  • Prioritize areas and problems. Divide everything into urgent, not urgent, important, and not important.
  • Make a backlog for each priority area. Try to identify at once the people to whom you can delegate the non-urgent and non-important. All that is urgent and important – decompose it into tasks.
  • Determine the stages of tasks and those responsible for the tasks. Try not to load the responsible persons with more than a certain number of tasks. That way you’ll be able to take control of everything. Understand that even the most urgent and important tasks will have their own priority.
  • Keep records and monitor the productivity of the teams. Once you stick with Scrum, then you must have rhythm in your work processes: planning – execution – evaluation – corrections – implementation.
  • Don’t hesitate of using the Scrum Guide! This will ensure that everybody shares the same understanding of values and processes/ceremonies.
  • Initially keep it simple. Don’t feel like you need to be perfect.
  • Be very clear about interfaces and dependencies with other teams and what this means for you. Then pick battles that you’re able to win. And chip away at it.
  • Avoid heavy-weight bureaucratic tooling and let the team decide on which tools to use instead.
  • Ensure you have tooling or a plan to get tooling to allow you to work in an agile way, starting with how you communicate (Slack, for example). Think about how you’ll schedule and manage work (Trello, JIRA). Evaluate the way how you integrate, test, deploy, and release code.
  • Run Scrum even if you release only once per year or don’t do TDD. It’s not ideal by any stretch, but it can be done.
  • Focus on learning and improvements every iteration.
  • Clearly communicate outwards what you delivered, the value you added, and what holds you back.

If your organization isn’t ready for this, then Scrum won’t be the thing you should be most concerned about. There are plenty of Agile frameworks and supporting methods but they don’t make a company agile. Well, they’re just tools and not more than that.

Scrum Master Training – A Course to Passing the Professional Scrum Master (PSM1) Exam

If you want to dive even deeper into the subject and become a master of Scrum, try an awesome online course available on the Grinfer e-learning platform “Scrum Master Training – A Course to Passing the Professional Scrum Master (PSM1) Exam”. In this course, you will learn how to use Scrum/Agile frameworks effectively. 

Learn how to get the most out of these frameworks with the help of the certified Scrum master/PMO manager. This online course is very effective for learning how to fully understand all effective principles and values behind these frameworks in order to adapt them to your current work situation. Stop doing it mechanically and stop being somewhat rigid! Learn everything about Scrum with this course and put your knowledge to good use!

Summary

For a successful Scrum implementation, try to be Agile in approach. This involves looking at a project or engagement from three different angles – process, mindset, and engineering practices. Without all three, an effective outcome would be hard to achieve. Scrum covers the process part but without Agile principles, the mindset part won’t be complete and functional. Follow an Agile approach – keep it simple! Take one step at a time. Repeat as many times as it’s needed! 

Start by making sure you’re knowledgeable in the subject and learn Scrum with the Grinfer e-learning platform. Grinfer offers a good number of really useful online courses on Scrum and Agile frameworks. After taking these courses, you’ll be able to obtain certification and advocate for it by supporting others. So, go ahead and become a change champion with Scrum online courses on Grinfer!

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