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What is SCRUM? Pills of the best-known framework for software development

What is SCRUM? Pills of the best-known framework for software development

Frame your problem statements into actionable tasks and goals that lead to a solution. Problem statements incite procrastination and resistance whereas solution statements inspire hope and motivation. - Salil Jha

Raise your hand if you have never heard of the SCRUM methodology.

If you have asked yourself questions about how to manage a software development project at least once in your life, you have heard about it for sure.

What is SCRUM

According to its creators Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, SCRUM is a framework that applies Agile principles.

It’s a simple yet powerful set of notions and procedures which help teams deliver products (mostly software) broken the development down into short cycles, receiving fast feedback from the customer that enables continuous improvement and rapid adaptation to change.

This technique originates from the so-called "holistic" or "rugby" approach, which had already been pioneered in some industries like the automotive and by manufacturers of printers.

How it works and why to apply this methodology

As anticipated, the core of SCRUM involves work being structured in short, timed iterations called “Sprints” that usually last 1, 2, or 3 weeks.

More specifically, the work involves planning the first sprint (Sprint Planning) with tasks extracted from an ordered list of features to develop, called the ”Product Backlog”, and defined via “User Story” which are the specs to share with the team to determine what is to be developed.

The goal is to have working software at the end of each sprint, allowing for quick feedback from the customer.

At the end of the sprint, the team meets to review the work done in the Sprint Review phase, figure out if there are improvements that need to be applied, and plan the next sprint.

What are the roles within SCRUM

There are three distinct roles within SCRUM: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Developer.

All together they form the SCRUM Team, which has the main attribute of being self-managing and cross-functional, meaning that it has all the necessary skills to release a software increment without depending on external teams or people outside the team.

  • the Scrum Master is undoubtedly the team leader.
    It simplifies collaboration, removes obstacles, facilitates sprint patterns, safeguards the process, and protects the team from time and goal pressures through 1-to-1 comparisons when needed.
    It doesn’t assign tasks to team members and is not responsible for delivering the project
  • the Product Owner is the person responsible for the product delivery.
    The Product Owner is the intermediary between the customer and the team.
    in a nutshell, it has the key task of organizing and compiling activities through the Backlog
  • the Developer is a member of the operative SCRUM team. All participants in the team work together, help each other, and are not necessarily bound to distinct roles such as architect, programmer, designer, or tester.

The benefits of the Scrum methodology

In today's highly dynamic and competitive business environment, speed of response to market demands is a critical key to success. Among the benefits of this methodology, three are the truly relevant and immediate ones.

  1. Minimize the time-to-market: this methodology speed up the project by breaking down the whole process into brief phases and by having clear goals in the short term. A team focused on a shared goal that can be reached in a straightforward time is certainly more motivated and productive.
    In addition, with SCRUM the possibility of periodic audits reduces the probability of pursuing error and achieving a product aligned with requirements.
  2. Minimize the risk of failure: collaboration between development teams and stakeholders is another aspect that limits the danger of failure because every progress in the software development is directly tested and feedback can be gathered from the involved users who can quickly identify any flaws.
  3. Increases the ability to implement innovative solutions: this approach lends itself to modern application development techniques. With new architectures, in fact, apps are designed as a modular set of independent units: by acting on one functionality, one does not risk affecting the behavior of the entire solution. Therefore, it is possible to operate by small incremental interventions, touching only certain aspects of the software…according to the users’ feedback.

In summary, the SCRUM framework is useful when working in high uncertainty environments, where the probability of changes during the project is high. If requirements are unclear, if the client is in a hurry to get a product to market, or needs an MVP, it is the perfect approach to adopt. This framework allows us to deliver a project in multiple functional and independent pieces, at a fast speed and with the ability to correct errors on the spot. 

But in order for your team to bring out the full potential of this methodology, it cannot accomplish without trustworthy dedicated tools.

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