scrum

Due to increasingly rapid rates of change in the corporate world, whether they occur within customer demands, project requirements, support issues or tasks, many companies are finding that their traditional business processes do not allow them to move fast enough and keep up with changes.

An increasing number of project management, product management and software development teams are transitioning from traditional Waterfall methodologies to Agile ones. Those who are new to Agile are often unaware of the fact that there are different types of Agile methodologies. One of the most popular Agile process is the Scrum methodology. We hope that this post clarifies the idea behind both Scrum and Agile.

An overview of the Agile methodology

The Agile methodology was first introduced in 2001 when the “Agile Manifesto” was formalized when 17 people got together at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah. The Agile Manifesto outlines 12 important principles, which include communication, collaboration, the importance of software, and open-mindedness to change.

I previously wrote a post entitled Waterfall vs. Agile, in which I explain what differentiates Agile from Waterfall. The Agile methodology was basically put together as a solution to circumvent the pitfalls associated with Waterfall. Being a more flexible management framework, Agile allows teams to bypass traditional sequential paradigms and get more work done in a shorter time period.

What new Agile teams don’t realize, is that there are different types of Agile methodologies, the most popular one being Scrum.

The Scrum Methodology

Most teams that transition to Agile choose to start with Scrum because it is simple and allows for a lot of flexibility.

As explained on Scrummethodology.com, “Scrum is unique because it introduced the idea of “empirical process control.” That is, Scrum uses the real-world progress of a project — not a best guess or uninformed forecast — to plan and schedule releases.”

What differentiates Scrum from other methodologies?

– Scrum has three roles: Product owner, team members, scrum master.

– Projects are divided into sprints, which typically last one, two or three weeks.

– At the end of each sprint, all stakeholders meet to assess the progress and plan its next steps.

– The advantage of scrum is that a project’s direction to be adjusted based on completed work, not on speculation or predictions.

The Scrum process includes the following steps:

Backlog refinement

This process allows all team members to share thoughts and concerns, and properly understand the workflow.

Sprint planning

Every iteration starts with a sprint planning meeting. The product owner holds a conversation with the team and decides which stories are highest in priority, and which ones they will tackle first. Stories are added to the sprint backlog, and the team then breaks down the stories and turn them into tasks.

Daily Scrum

The daily scrum is also known as the daily standup meeting. This serves to tighten communication and ensure that the entire team is on the same page. Each member goes through what they have done since the last standup, what they plan to work on before the next one, and outline any obstacles.

Sprint review meeting

At the end of a sprint, the team presents their work to the product owner. The product owner goes through the sprint backlog and either accepts or rejects the work. All uncompleted stories are rejected by the product owner.

Sprint retrospective meeting

Finally, after a sprint, the scrum master meets with the team for a retrospective meeting. They go over what went well, what did not, and what can be improved in the next sprint. The product owner is also present, and will listen to the team lay out the good and bad aspects of the sprint. This process allows the entire team to focus on its overall performance and identify strategies for improvement. It is crucial as the ScrumMaster can observe common impediments and work to resolve them.

15 Comments

  1. Vlad

    Thank you, Kimberly! I like your approach!

    1. Is it possible to apply these methodologies to the business strategy process (since it is non-stop process)?
    2. How would you explain business students and “dummies” the terms: “agile” and “scrum”?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Matthew Buttice

      Hi Vlad! Glad you enjoyed the article.
      To answer your questions. 1)The methodology that would most likely be applied to the business strategy process (with some adaptation of course) would most likely be the Agile methodology, due to it’s inherent flexibility.
      2) The simplest form I can come up with would be this : Agile is about being flexible and responding rapidly to changes in feedback, requirements, and market needs.
      As for Scrum, I recommend showing them the video linked in this post : http://www.onedesk.com/2014/06/scrum-master-role-and-responsibilities/

      Let me know if that helps!

  2. Vishav Premlall

    Hi guys,

    I always thought that scrum was more of a subset of agile. Could someone please clarify this aspect for me? (Without using tools or much technicality)

    Thanks so much

    • Matthew Buttice

      Hi Vishav,

      Scrum is a type of Agile methodology since it is derived from the same conceptual framework.

  3. Brian Gagliardi

    What are some of the best sites and tools for CRM tools.

  4. shashank

    Hello Kim,
    The information you provided is really good. It helped me a lot in understanding about Agile methodology. I just need a clarity whether Agile and Scrum are one and the same?

    • Matthew Buttice

      Hi! To answer your question, Scrum is a specific type of agile methodology. There are multiple different variations on the agile methodology and Scrum is one of those.

  5. Kevin

    Thank you for the information, Geoff! Appreciate it.

    Very interesting and clear on describing and outlining scrum as just one of many types of agile methodology.

    Regards,
    Kevin

  6. Orchestrate

    Agile and Scrum are terms employed in project management. The Agile methodology employs progressive and repetitive work cadences that also are referred to as sprints. Scrum, on the opposite hand is that the form of agile approach that’s employed in software development.

    The Agile methodology is employed in project management and it helps project manufacturers to create software applications that are unpredictable in nature.

    Scrum could be a style of agile approach that’s utilized in development of software system applications. it’s simply a framework and not a strategy or a full method. It doesn’t offer elaborated directions to what must be done rather most of it’s captivated with the team that’s developing the software system.

    • Matthew Buttice

      Thanks for the comment and description. What would you consider to be a strateg or “full method” as you put it?

  7. Arvind Kumar

    After going through all the text, till now I could not even realize how this is even a methodology. The steps mentioned like Sprint planning,Sprint review meeting. Which work in this work which does not involved planning an overview.

    And this daily overview, really? In my projects, I have seen some managers were very enthusiastic to apply the method. They first told to have twice review meeting. Well we engineers had no problems. After some time they were so much under pressure, reduced it to once a week. But even once a week, it became burden for them.

    Second problem I have with this methodology is that it nowhere deal with any real analysis, modelling, but only coding and testing.Somebody may argue, that model might be one sprint. I think for that one has to go out of this methodology.

    I think scrum is more a project management methodology than software development.

    • Matthew Buttice

      Thanks for your input Arvind! You are correct that scrum is a project management methodology as an overarching component but what I understand is that you don’t see it as effective when applied to software development for your organization, is that correct?

      If your scrum leader was having a review twice a week, perhaps they were not applying the methodology correctly, since the review meetings are usually held at the end of every sprint, which usually are between 2-4 weeks and not every few days

  8. Arkadii Berezkin

    Nice overview, now I’m considering to propose scrum for my team. Also, probably will write a post about methodologies in my blog. Can you drop a line about Crystal Clear? It seems interesting to me (and I think for many others) because we have small team.

  9. Stephen Campbell

    “Scrum Methodology vs. Agile Methodology”

    In this article, I found:
    “The Agile methodology was basically put together as a solution to circumvent to pitfalls associated with Waterfall.”
    Can you please change it to:
    …a solution to circumvent the pitfalls…

    Thank you,
    Stephen

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