Scrum agile methodology is a framework for software management and development based on an iterative and incremental process. “It is a methodology that has its origins in rugby and basically encourages teamwork and collaboration”, says Santiago Bellosta, Head of the Research and Development Department.
At EDICOM it is ideal, as our projects are developed in complex environments where requirements keep changing, so it provides the flexibility and adaptation needed to mitigate risks. It also facilitates all-round management of customer expectations based on tangible results, as well as alignment between the client and the team. Team motivation would also be an outstanding feature thanks to the self-management and empowerment of knowledge transfer among team members.
We chatted with some of our Scrum Masters to find out more about the keys to this agile methodology.
KEY 1. CONTINUOUS DELIVERY OF CUSTOMER VALUE
Isidoro Alonso, Scrum Master
“Using Scrum involves making continuous deliveries to the client in a very short time and from the early stages of the project. These deliveries must be of value to the customer. No non-functional or useless parts of the project are delivered. All deliverables must provide value, be finished, fully tested and functional before going into production. Moreover, it is not just about delivering value, but maximizing the value delivered to the customer in each sprint by focusing on the features of high value to the customer in the early stages of development”.
KEY 2. FLEXIBILITY
Juan Colomer, Scrum Master
“A working methodology must be adapted to the needs of the team and not the other way around. In this sense, we have taken Scrum as the basis for our own approach. We adopted it because of its flexibility to combine it with the Kanban methodology, with different combinations of cycles. In addition, the tools and milestones it proposes fit very well with our software development and maintenance process (backlog, sprint, planning, daily, etc.)”.
KEY 3. ADAPTABILITY TO CHANGE AND TEAM GROWTH
Francisco Santonja, Scrum Master
“Working by scheduling short time windows (sprints) with deliverables allows you to adapt to changes in customer needs without having to wait until the end of the project. In addition, the daily meetings (dailies) let you detect and correct blockages almost immediately.
With the planning meetings, the team is involved in the construction of the product by contributing its point of view. This lets the knowledge flow among everyone, even if they are not directly involved in a specific task. Having a clear concept of deliverables and letting the team itself estimate the task times reinforces the degree of commitment, allowing self-management and team autonomy. On the other hand, these meetings encourage contact within the team and, although we are all autonomous, everyone knows what their teammate is doing at all times.
Another advantage that enhances team growth is that it is a highly standardized and repeatable methodology, so anyone the team has the potential to become a Scrum Master, form a new team and continue operating the same way”.
KEY 4. COMMITMENT, AGILITY, TEAM
José Miguel Torres, Scrum Master
“The first things that come to mind when I think of Scrum are the following ideas. On one hand, commitment and responsibility, as each person in the team is responsible for their own work, having participated in choosing the tasks and working out the estimate.
Likewise, they are focused on the essential and necessary linked to agility and efficiency. Scrum makes it possible to deliver the essentials as quickly as possible. Planning over a few weeks means that each new planning schedule can focus on what is necessary at the time, and can easily change targets.
Finally, I would say teamwork. Obviously, thanks to the transparency of the whole process and because the team is involved in all its phases. So, this bolsters the team and its commitment”.
KEY 5. COMMON SENSE APPLIED TO LIFE
Sebastián Valverde, Scrum Master
“Common sense applied to life. Sense, because it helps you to focus on your work without thinking about it; common, because it becomes the team culture; and applied to life, because it makes us a living organism in which we all have important functions to carry out with our tasks in life”.
Roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developer Team
The roles we find in our Scrum teams are:
Product Owner. The owner represents the rest of the stakeholders in development of the product project and is responsible for transmitting to the development team the vision of the product to be created, providing a business perspective.
Scrum Master. Responsible for the Scrum process being understood and applied by the whole team. The master is a facilitator and protector of the team, as they have to overcome the hold-ups and interferences that may arise in each sprint to ensure the objectives are achieved successfully.
Developer Team. In each iteration, the team is responsible for transforming the product backlog into an increase in product functionality by planning its own work to achieve it. Each member self-assigns their own tasks and must comply with the delivery date and quality agreed.
Tools: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog and Burndown Chart
The tools we handle are:
Product Backlog. This is a prioritized list of requirements that describes in detail which functionality and features are to be covered by the product or project. It contains estimates of the value to the business and the development effort required. Each requirement indicates the priority and the estimated cost of completing it. Requirements and priorities are reviewed and adjusted during the course of the project at regular intervals.
Sprint Backlog. The list of tasks that comes from breaking down the requirements that make up the product backlog.
Burndown Chart. The chart shows the speed at which the requirements are being completed. It allows us to extrapolate whether the team will be able to complete the job in the estimated time.
Events: Sprint Planning Meeting, Daily Meeting, Sprint Review Meeting and Retrospective Meeting
Sprint Planning Meeting. Draws up a realistic planning of the work to be done in each sprint.
Daily Meeting. Daily synchronization of the development team. A brief meeting at which each team member details the status of the tasks.
Sprint Review Meeting. Held at the end of each sprint to review and adapt the product backlog if necessary. It is a great opportunity to get feedback on development of the product.
Retrospective Meeting. A meeting about how the working approach turned out during the iteration: what has worked well, what needs to be improved and what has been learned from the sprint.
Does Scrum methodology seem useful to you? Would you like to work with this dynamic? See job offers in the Development Area.