A couple of decades ago, developing a computer program seemed like cleaning up King Augeas’ stables. Traditional project management approaches turned out to be inadequate when it came to software development, a new and innovative sphere at that time. Apparently, this new industry required a totally new methodology, and thus Agile was invented.
Agile is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of software development methodologies. Scrum, however, tops them all. According to an article by Forbes, Scrum is the most widely used Agile approach, and for good reason – the average success rate for projects delivered with the help of Scrum is 62 per cent. In a Lifehack list of the top eight highest-paying jobs in the IT sector, Agile Scrum master takes an honorable third position with a median salary of US$126,000 in the US.
What makes Scrum so special? Let’s go over the greatest advantages this project management approach provides.
Benefit #1: High quality
Software must be of high quality, and Scrum allows development teams to ensure the highest quality possible with the help of the following practices:
Daily Scrum meetings. Also called stand-up meetings or daily scrums, these meetings are held every day. At daily meetings, team members tell what tasks they’ve completed, what they plan to do next, and what problems they’ve faced. If problems have been encountered, the team decides how to solve them.
Sprint planning meetings. Attended by the product owner, Scrum master, and the whole team, sprint planning meetings take place prior to each sprint. They allow a development team to define a sprint goal and select tasks for the sprint backlog.
Sprint retrospective. Sprint retrospectives are held right after a sprint is completed, and allow a team to discuss the sprint and suggest any improvements to the workflow or environment.
Benefit #2: Flexibility and scalability
Agile Scrum is an iterative software development methodology, which means that requirements and practices can easily be adjusted. For example, a release schedule can be changed if a development team faces some unforeseen difficulties. Similarly, the process may take far less time if the team’s productivity is higher than expected.
Scrum is also scalable, and it can be applied to different kinds of projects; for example, large projects that require big development teams. For large projects, Scrum offers the perfect solution by dividing a large team into multiple smaller teams. To show maximum productivity, an optimal Scrum team should have from five to nine members.
Benefit #3: Relevant metrics
Metrics are required to determine the performance of a development team. In a traditional waterfall approach, productivity is measured in worker-hours. Though this approach seems quite straightforward, there are pitfalls: People work with different productivity levels, and what’s more, tend to underestimate the difficulty of tasks. As a result of the fluid meaning of a “worker-hour,” it can be difficult to accurately estimate work required and to release a product on time and within budget.
The Scrum software development methodology offers a totally different approach to measuring productivity. In Scrum, metrics are more relevant as they focus on each team’s capabilities. Moreover, it is team members — in other words the people who are going to do the job — who decide how much effort each task requires.
Most Scrum teams use Story Points estimation, which is an efficient technique for measuring a team’s velocity. Story Points offer flexibility: Thanks to story points, the release date for a project can be easily adjusted depending on a team’s performance. This advantage is particularly useful for businesses as they need to know an approximate release date for planning marketing campaigns and events.
Benefit #4: Motivation
Multiple studies show that productivity largely depends on job satisfaction. People who like what they’re doing perform better than those who dislike their jobs. Job satisfaction, in turn, hinges on the work environment.
The Scrum methodology is designed to motivate teams and create the nurturing work environment they need. Several practices are implemented in Scrum to motivate teams; let’s go over the most important:
Collaboration. In Scrum, collaboration is the cornerstone of the development process. All team members work together, and thus are deeply committed to their projects. Moreover, Scrum is about engaging customers in the development process so that they’re fully aware of the progress.
Self-management. Scrum is a pretty democratic methodology: it puts the most important decisions concerning the development process into the hands of team members. Team members can freely express and share their thoughts and ideas, suggest changes, and show their creativity.
Quick results. People get inspired when they see the results of their work. In Scrum, the output of each sprint is a potentially shippable increment of a product. Therefore, all team members can see that each sprint brings them closer to their goal, which is the product release. Needless to say, quick delivery motivates teams and improves morale.
Benefit #5: Customer satisfaction
In business, a client has the final say. The Scrum methodology prioritizes customer satisfaction, and several major techniques are aimed at making customers happy.
Customer involvement. Delivering a product that customers will be satisfied with is impossible without a full understanding of their requirements. In a traditional development approach, potentially shippable versions of products only appear at the final stages of development, so customers might not like what they get. The Scrum software development methodology, however, requires customer involvement throughout the whole process, from the first to the last sprint. Thus, clients see the progress and can voice their concerns or suggestions at any time.
Incremental payments. Scrum is good news for investors, as there are no large up-front payments. Since a product is released incrementally, the payments are incremental as well.
Low risk. There’s one thing no investor wishes to experience: project failure and, consequently, no return on investment. The Scrum methodology alleviates this problem, as investors receive tangible versions of products even if something goes wrong with the development. Moreover, the most challenging and urgent parts of products are delivered first.
Scrum brings success
Now it’s clear why Scrum makes software development quick and efficient. Implementing this methodology brings lots of benefits not only to customers but to development teams and end users as well. Thanks to Scrum, turning a creative idea into a successful product is as simple as ABC.
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