Teamwork is neither “good” nor “desirable.” It is a fact. Wherever people work together or play together they do so as a team. Which team to use for what purpose is a crucial, difficult and risky decision that is even harder to unmake. Managements have yet to learn how to make it.

Scrum is an incremental, iterative and adaptive agile project management process for software development. Within this framework, the team focuses on developing the most important functionalities.

Scrum is the most widespread agile method and shares the values below:

  • Individuals and interactions rather than processes and tools;
  • Working software rather than complete documentation;
  • Customer collaboration rather than contract negotiation;
  • Adjust to change rather than follow a preset plan.

Scrum implements a project steering based on sprints also called iterations that focus on value delivered after each iteration. Its main characteristics are listed below:

  • Prioritized: the business users are represented by the Product owner who lists and prioritizes functionalities to achieve, in a list called “Product Backlog”. The most important functionalities are implemented first.
  • Iterative: the functionalities are developed within short cycles and fixed durations (2 to 4 weeks), called Sprints. At the beginning of each sprint and based on the “Sprint Backlog”, the “Product Owner” selects the functionalities to implement.
  • Incremental: every sprint results in the delivery of an operational product increment (potentially deliverable). At the end of every sprint, the team organizes a “Sprint Review” to demonstrate the software and functionalities developed.
  • Adaptive (response to change): between each sprint, business priorities could change. The team simply proposes the desired adjustments and updates the product backlog.
  • Productive: When a sprint starts, the team focuses on functionalities development and must not be interrupted. The scrum master, who is responsible for ensuring process respect, guarantees that there is no disruptive event that could deconcentrate the team. All enhancements are thus planned for the next sprint.
  • Continuous improvement: Everyday begins with a 15 minutes “Daily Scrum Meeting”. The team synchronizes, communicates on progress and escalates any issues. The Scrum Master seeks solutions and solves the issues. He also tracks all obstacles that paralyze the productivity and the quality of production in the “Impediment List”.

At the end of each Sprint, the team and the Scrum Master attend the retrospective meeting to understand the errors and improve.

  • The main concepts of Scrum are:
    • Three roles: Product Owner, the team and the Scrum Master;
    • Planning and communication bodies: the Sprint planning, the Sprint Review and the Retrospective, organized once for each sprint. The daily scrum meeting allows a close follow-up on development progress.
    • The artefacts: the Product Backlog, the Sprint Backlog, the Burndown Charts and the Impediment List.

To implement scrum method on a project, it is important to work on:

  • Project vision
  • Definition of done
  • Sprints duration
  • Teams size and deployment
  • “Product Backlog” structure

“Product Backlog” content