How to Apply Scrum to Your Software Development Company
Gain a greater understanding of the who, what, why, and how of applying Scrum to your team and organization.
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Scrum is one of the most-adopted methodologies in the technology industry today. So what do you know about this framework and how to implement it into your organization?
1. What Do You Need to Know About Scrum?
What is Scrum?
It is essential to mention that the philosophy of Agile is that all the tasks, whether big or small, must be completed by a small group of people. As a method developed from Agile, Scrum works the same way.
While Agile is an umbrella term used to talk about several software development approaches. In a smaller scale, Scrum is seen as a popular Agile project management framework that helps teams, companies, or organizations work more effectively in terms of collaboration and results by operating projects unit by unit. The ability to learn from experience and improve the process time after time is what makes Scrum one of the most adopted frameworks of Agile.
Why You Should Use Scrum?
According to a report in 2018 about Scrum by The Scrum Alliance about practicing Scrum worldwide, 94% of respondents use Scrum in their working process. These participants came from many different industries such as advertising, healthcare, and education. The expansion of Scrum happens due to its effectiveness and helpfulness which works across industries. The success of Scrum lies in these six characteristics:
- Product quality is optimized as it is developed.
- Your product is improved and updated frequently and continuously.
- Scrum saves you a lot of money.
- It increases transparency across the company.
- Scrum encourages teamwork.
- You get feedback from your client more frequently.
Who Will Be Involved In Scrum?
A Scrum team consists of three parties:
- Development team: All the tasks assigned by clients or Product Owners will be completed by this team. Normally, a newly assembled development team has to go through approximately three sprints to master this framework. A Scrum team will have 3 to 9 members (including a business analyst, designer, tester, and developer).
- Product Owner: This person is the one who has the mission to picture the outcome of each sprint. They will make the best of the product backlog and sprint backlog by prioritizing items, estimating workload and timeframe. The Product Owner must have an insightful view of the product, understanding what is in the minds of clients, users, and any involved parties.
- Scrum Master:The Scrum Master will be the one who “creates the balance with the project’s key stakeholders.” In the hope that the Scrum team would only focus on their current project, this person will solve any impediments coming across the way, making sure the product backlog is well prepared and ready for the next sprint. The Scrum Master has to act as the guardian of the Scrum team. They protect the team by limiting tasks sent from clients, project managers, and other stakeholders so that team members are able to concentrate on the project.
2. Three Steps to Implement Scrum in Your Process
Rather than going straight to the process of applying Scrum into a project, let’s think about a more familiar activity that we all have to on the weekend: housework.
Collect the Product Backlog – The To-Do List
Momma gave you a list of work that you have to do that includes washing dishes, gardening, washing your clothes, cleaning the house, going to the supermarket.
In Scrum, the list you receive is called a product backlog. This is the board that contains all the inputs from stakeholders: clients, users, product managers, etc. These items may be varied from new requirements for the product, fixing bugs to working on research, etc. in the form of a user story. A standard user story goes like this:
“As a <role>, I want <feature> so that <reason>.”
Not only is it essential to define user stories for your Scrum plan at the moment, but your team also has to figure out the time period to complete such a backlog. This time period is called a sprint.
Size the User Story
A planning meeting will be held so that all three internal parties – the development team, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master – have a chance to estimate the time needed to complete every task and prioritize them, the main idea being to exclude irrelevant and unimportant items.
Create the Sprint Backlog
Now what you need to do is gather those defined (in terms of the timebox and priority) and user stories and put them together in a sprint backlog.
After having decided what user stories to complete in a sprint, the development team will have the responsibility to figure out what actions will be carried out so that a user story could be marked as done.
And now it’s time to get to work.
During a sprint, there are two things you should do:
- Commit to holding a stand-up meeting every day. This activity is to exchange ideas, talk about what is posing obstacles, and what you did in the previous 24 hours. On one hand, the discussion will likely to get feedback from others, solve member’s issues, and develop one’s innovation. On the other hand, the whole team will be aware of how the progress is going on and adjust their tasks to fit in the estimated time of a sprint.
- Track and illustrate your process by a burn-down chart. A burn-down chart is a line graph that helps the Scrum team to understand the current progress. Then the team could measure and adjust their work if their performance (the actual work line) is below the ideal work line. Below is the example of a burn-down chart:
At the end of a sprint, the Scrum team should assemble to conduct two last important sessions:
- A sprint review: The common goal of a sprint is to release an increment. Generally, a sprint review is the meeting where the Scrum team and the client will review the product after the sprint. A demo of new features, bugs fixed, new designs, etc. during this session. The development will also present what has been done and what has not after the sprint.
- A retrospective meeting: Instead of reviewing the visible outcome of the sprint like what happens in a sprint review session, a retrospective meeting is where the Scrum team, including only the development team, Product Owner and Scrum Master, talk about how effective the team is during the sprint. In short, according to Mountain Goat Software, each member has to present some moves that the Scrum team should “stop doing, start doing, and continue to do” in the next sprint.
Recently, we at Designveloper conducted a workshop to introduce Agile and Scrum methodology to our team, and you can watch the session here: Agile Development Workshop – Designveloper.
It's up to your team to estimate the user story number which should be included in one sprint. According to Andrew Fuqua, an author from Leading Agile, the time to work on user story has to be no longer than half a sprint and a user story should be completed in 1-3 days. Another thing to remember is that user stories will be accomplished more effectively if they are simple, concise and detailed.
While the sprint backlog discussion is happening, a Scrum team could use the Planning Poker technique to estimate the user story. After the Product Owner, the client or any other person has done the user story describing step, the team will talk about the requirement in detail. Then all the estimators will show their grade of the user story via a card. This grade is called a story point, and the team will prioritize user stories by their points.
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about Scrum, check out our compendium of tutorials and articles.
Published at DZone with permission of Huyen Pham. See the original article here.
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