How to better manage SCRUM – The Prologue

As technological innovations are rapidly increasing in the IT industry, it is becoming paramount to acquaint yourself with the increasing constraints and complexity in software. The perspectives adopted by people toward software development need to undergo rapid changes to fit in seamlessly with the progressing complexity.

Agile software development is a variety of development methods that are based on dividing a larger task into smaller fragments called ‘iterations’. Each iteration handles the changing requirements of the customers and provides solutions for them in the same iteration.

Why adopt Agile practices?

To be honest, businesses care about achieving better business results, and Agile as a tool is very capable of giving them the above results. The idea of better business results comprises of a few key points, which Agile can resolve/make more efficient. Agile helps you get your product to the market faster thanks to frequent delivery cycles. Agile also takes into consideration the feedback given by real customers. This helps the development teams bring to the market a product that perfectly understands the customer’s needs, leading to higher customer satisfaction. Agile lets your team work more efficiently as individuals and as a team, giving the end customer better quality products.

Why is Scrum popular?

Scrum methodology is far more popular than its counterparts due to one reason- simplicity. Scrum also utilizes a variety of certifications- Scrum Masters, product owners, developers, and more. Scrum is responsible for the streamlining of software development, a fact that most companies have not overlooked. Many Scrum Masters have also voiced that the simplicity of scrum lies in its structure- a prescriptive, structured format that gives you very clear guidelines about what you have to do. Scrum breaks down a particular task into several “iterations”, bite-sized cycles of work that need to be completed by every member on the team before the deadline of the iteration. Thanks to the constant deadlines, a feeling of constant urgency is maintained, making each member perform to their very best so the work is completed before the deadline.

Forming a good SCRUM team:

Here are a few guidelines that can help you get started while forming a scrum team

  • Having the right mix of people with individual and unique skills that can complement each other is a basic prerequisite.
  • Cross-skilling, or knowing the skills of your team members, is also a very important factor in a good scrum team. For ex- the person working on UX should be able to debug codes and work on backend, if required. Similarly, backend developers can lend their expertise to DevOps.
  • Any team member can commence testing the part of the end product that is developed by someone else. When team members test each other’s work, there is lesser probability that the customers will find any flaws in the end product.

Parts of a Scrum:

A scrum meeting addresses several items in a single meeting, but the main functions of a scrum are-

Part 1- Managing Product Backlogs

When applying scrum to your project, you should start with creating a prioritized list of tasks given to the development team. The tasks are derived from the project requirements and the roadmap taken to complete the task. Such a list of tasks is called a product backlog. Creating and managing the product backlog according to different iterations is an essential segment to have a successful scrum.  

Part 2- Capacity Planning

When you are planning the next sprint in your scrum process, you need to effectively gauge the capacity of your team, based on the number of members you have in your team for that particular sprint. Capacity planning can be expressed best as an equation- (number of team members) * (number of productive hours in a day) * (number of days in the sprint). Unforeseen parameters are also taken into account, like any leave submitted by an employee would have to be balanced by the other members in the team.

Part 3- Managing Sprint Backlogs

A sprint backlog is a series of tasks that need to be completed in a sprint. They are listed down by the team at the beginning of a sprint, with modifications being made  to it as the sprint progresses. Time estimation for each task is also performed for a sprint backlog. A scrum team should effectively distribute the tasks in a product backlog because the tasks selected have to be completed in that sprint itself.

At first, it may seem intimidating because you might see many more tasks than what you are used to. However the idea behind scrum is not taking on more work instead, it is to work smarter so that you can accomplish more work in a shorter period of time.

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