Scrum is at the heart of everything

2021. August 02.

Scrum is a framework that helps teams solve complex problems consisting of multiple components. While easy to learn the rudiments on a personal level, scrum is very complex to learn on a larger organizational level. However, the benefit of using Scrum at such a level is the resulting increased efficiency of product development even in very complex, quickly changing environments.

The rapid development of technology solutions, tools and programs has prompted customers to enter the market with their products as quickly as possible. Thanks to constant innovations, market competition has become very fierce and speed has become a key factor. The “win” is the potential users who first come up with a new development, application, or online solution.

This constant time pressure is not compatible with previous product development frameworks, so it has become necessary to create a new framework that allows sufficient flexibility, but is still efficient and low risk.

What is Scrum, and what theory is it based on?

Scrum is a process framework that provides tools and approaches for creative and efficient problem-solving. Its goal is to get the most out of a given product or service in the shortest time possible.

What does it mean to have a framework? This definition suggests that it does not offer a one-size-fits-all recipe, but rather an approach that it builds with a variety of technical solutions and processes. Thus the development process becomes an open book, so corrections, fine-tuning are much easier.

Its theoretical background can be found in empiricism. Transparency, control and correction enable the development process and the product to be delivered with the least possible risk and in the most optimal form. These principles are adopted by Scrum as well.

  • Transparency applies in the sense that activities must be visible, as must a common denominator at the conceptual level. It is very important to define what we call ‘completed’ in the context of the project.
  • The essence of the control principle is that control should be performed with adequate regularity to filter out errors and deficiencies, but this should not come at the expense of productivity.
  • Correction is necessary if there is a deviation from what is expected, which negatively impacts the product. These are the so-called expected events: Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective..

Scrum is under the aegis of AGILE software development. Many mistakenly think that they are synonyms, but it is important to know that AGILE development is a broader concept, a way of thinking within which Scrum exists as an AGILE framework exists.

By the way, Scrum inherited its name from rugby, since the development process requires the same teamwork, no match could be won without the continuous cooperation of members. It is based on the principle that team performance together is greater than simply adding up the individual performances.

The cornerstones of Scrum are the rules of the team, events, artifacts and their coordination, which systematize the three factors. We will examine these in more detail below!

What are roles in a Scrum team?

A Scrum team consists of the Product Owner, developers and the Scrum Master. Teams are self-sufficient in the sense that they do not act on external instructions, but rather they determine for themselves the best way to do the work. During development, they go step by step and they regularly report to the client, thus providing the opportunity for feedback.

The Product Owner is responsible for ensuring that the product being developed is the best possible, and that the developers give their best. It is also their responsibility to transparently manage the Product Backlog, which includes, among other things, describing, sorting, reviewing, and understanding the items in Backlog. He/she is typically a person who can make an influence on the team, and his/her decisions concerning the Product Backlog are not questioned.

As a team, developers organize their tasks and the process themselves. Their task is to generate functional increments from the received Product Backlog. They also have all the knowledge to do so. The developer team is not divided into further teams, there are no assigned positions or titles within the teams. Although everyone specializes in a field of expertise, the work and the responsibility are shared.

The Scrum Master is the person who makes sure that everyone follows the rules and principles of Scrum . Not only do they provide help in the microtasks of the team, they also help the team’s overall understanding of Scrum.

What events are there?

The Scrum events structure the development process. Each of them has a specific time limit that cannot be changed. The most important event in Srcum is the Sprint, during which a complete and usable increment is created. When a Sprint is finished, the next one may start.

The Daily Scrum is a kick-start 15-minute meeting that starts the day. During which the developers discuss what they will be doing in the next 24 hours.

Sprint Reviews are performed to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and to determine future adaptations. The Scrum Team presents the results of their work to the client for feedback, and together they discuss the next steps.

The Sprint Retrospective is a meeting held at the end of a sprint to discuss what went well during the previous cycle and what can be improved in the next. Depending on the Sprint, this can take as long as 3 hours.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Scrum?

Scrum has many advantages that contribute to the fact that an increasing number of companies choose to use it. One of these that made it immensely popular is simplicity. There are no thick textbooks and complicated formulas, you just have to grasp the essence of it all, and the rest is easy to pick up. The Scrum Guide, which is the instructional manual of the framework, is only 20 pages long and easy to understand. However, it is important to note that learning Scrum is easy up to a certain level; but it takes a lot of time and experience to learn enough to be considered a true professional who can work wonders with a developer team.

Proponents of Scrum also argue for cost-effectiveness. Due to the nature of the framework, deficiencies, errors are revealed early on, so they can be easily corrected. Early corrections can save a lot of money and time.

This type of development process brings developers and clients together. It is based on constant communication, which enables frequent feedback, thus reducing the risk of the client not receiving what they expected in the end. The feedback comes not only from the client, but also from the users, which is integral to determining development directions. 

Last but not least, Scrum’s popularity can also be attributed how it strengthens team spirit. The framework, representing a flat hierarchy, enables everyone to perform as many tasks as they are expertly capable of. Furthermore, continuous communication helps you adapt quickly, support each other and grow.

Conversely, Scrum also has disadvantages. One of these – as mentioned above – is that it is hard to do really well. If someone is inexperienced, you can easily make the mistake of setting unrealistic expectations for your team, which will impede on both efficiency and cohesion. A lack of experience may also result in someone providing inaccurate feedback, not respecting the time limit of meetings, or exaggerating in their expectations for the sake of flexibility. These can all be counter-productive, and the efficiency of operation will be reduced.

Scrum is a really good choice in situations where there are large-scale, easy-to-see projects that can be processed efficiently by dividing them into parts. The organizational structure of Scrum is not a negligible issue either, it is worthwhile for organizations that strongly adhere to a strict hierarchy to apply this development framework only with great care and great awareness.

Scrum creates a distinctly creative, motivating atmosphere and embodies the effective development process. In the long run, in most cases, good results can be achieved, but good manpower, an excellent Product Owner, talented developers and a professional Scrum Master are essential for this.

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