Categorized | Management

Scrum Methodology: Teams And Sprints

Scrum methodology is a framework that was originally formulated for use in software development projects, but which has been found to also work well for large, complex projects and work in general. It is particularly suited to dynamic, fast-paced environments as it allows practitioners to respond quickly to changes in the overall plan or to the demands of the market.
Scrum teams rely on iterations and increments in order to get their work done. Before a Scrum team begins any work on a project, the product owner needs to list down tasks or items on a product backlog in order of priority. The product backlog is dynamic, and items may be added and removed at any time during the project. The Scrum team goes through the product backlog to choose items to commit to for the period of a sprint, or iteration. The negotiation process creates a sprint backlog from which the team chooses a task to complete for the first sprint.

Sprinting For Shippable Products

Teams work for short periods of time called “sprints” or “iterations” which produce product increments, or shippable products, after each sprint. The Scrum methodology allows teams to divide their workload into manageable chunks of differing lengths. Most Scrum sprints last between two to four weeks, with members meeting everyday in a process dubbed the “daily Scrum” to assess the team’s progress. The team leader or ScrumMaster’s task is to make sure that the team stays focused on its sprint goal, as well as on the larger goal of the project.

At the end of a sprint, Scrum teams are expected to produce items that are potentially ready to be handed off to a customer or put on display on a store shelf. (It should be noted, however, that the product owner makes the final decision on when to release the product.) The team then conducts a review of the just-concluded sprint to assess their progress and to determine their goals and next steps for the succeeding sprint. After the assessment, the team chooses another item from the product backlog, and a new sprint begins.

From Milestone To Milestone

This sprint-to-product cycle continues until a pre-determined project milestone is achieved. Typical project milestones include having enough items in the backlog completed, depleting the project budget, or a new deadline comes. Project milestones are unique to the current project, and the Scrum method helps to ensure that no matter when the project ends, the most valuable work that needed to be done has been completed.

Scrum methodology may seem simple on the surface, but it is in actuality difficult to implement. In order to become successful, Scrum teams must embrace the values outlined in the Agile Manifesto, which places value on teams working together towards a common goal.

The Manifesto also emphasizes the value of individuals over processes and interactions over tools, with a strong emphasis on the teams’ collective output rather than individual input. Scrum methodology also places a premium on communication, transparency, self-organization, openness, and an employee’s worth as an individual and a professional. The Scrum method’s emphasis on an employee’s worth is notable as it helps give workers a sense of job satisfaction, as well as sense of contribution and camaraderie with their teammates.

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