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What Is Scrum Project Management

Way back in 1986, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka drafted a paper for the Harvard Business Review that made history in the project management world. In this paper, titled “The New Product Development Game,” they talked about the benefit of self-organizing teams in achieving successful deliveries, and used the term “Scrum” as a metaphor from the popular sport of rugby to describe their line of thought.Since then, Scrum has come a long way. As the most popular agile framework used to deliver working products or solutions in short increments of duration, Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps teams to find solutions for complex adaptive problems while maximising the product value. Defining Scrum Project ManagementScrum is one of the agile methodologies designed to guide teams in the iterative and incremental delivery of a product—PMI Learning Library While traditional project management processes keep requirements fixed in order to control the cost and time, Scrum works the other way around; fixing cost and time while allowing requirements to change. This allows for flexibility and the ability to embrace change. What is the Value of Scrum Project Management?As an Agile framework that helps teams roll out successful projects, Scrum has proven itself time and again. The Scrum framework has been deployed across diverse industries and verticals, helping with quick releases of product increments to end users and higher quality at lower costs.  It comes with a whole host of benefits that far outweigh the short learning curve required to implement Scrum. Some of the ways in which Scrum adds value are: As with all Agile methodologies, Scrum allows the team to adapt to the inevitable changes during the development cycle. Scrum allows smooth communication between the people who are doing the work and the people who need the work done.  There is constant interaction and feedback from customers, ensuring that the end-user needs are met. Scrum increases team collaboration. Teams can deliver product increments quickly, ensuring that customers do not wait till the project ends to start using the product. Maintaining quality is a core priority and is made possible through frequent retrospectives and improvement cycles.  Risk is minimised as the samples of product increments are made available for stakeholder feedback and approval are regular intervals. Scrum enables costs to be minimised, as the approach is toward fixed timescales, fixed budgets, and evolving requirements.  Scrum’s ability to adapt to emerging requirements, the constant involvement of stakeholders and end users, and the emphasis laid on continual improvement ensure that the team builds a product of the highest quality that offers real value and benefits to the customer. How does Scrum Project Management work?Scrum works through short, cyclical iterations called sprints, that are repeated till all the work items have been completed and the product is released. This allows complex work to be broken down into smaller chunks that are manageable and easily understood. Tasks are prioritized, and work that matters most is completed first.  The Scrum Guide prescribes three roles or accountabilities: that of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Developers. The Product Owner works closely with the stakeholders to identify requirements, creates the product vision, and goals and communicates them to the team. Product functionality and features are ordered in the form of a prioritized list called the Product Backlog, which is groomed and reordered in line with emerging requirements. The Scrum Master is the coach, mentor, facilitator, and leader all rolled into one. As the captain of the ship, the Scrum Master navigates the team through all uncertainties, smoothening lines of communication and removing impediments to progress. The Developers do the actual work of developing the product. They participate in all events and work together as a cross-functional and self-managed team. Scrum measures progress through sprints of a 2-to-4-week duration. Several meetings or events help to maintain the cadence of the activities as the project progresses. These include: Sprint planning: A session that happens at the beginning of the sprint, when the goals for the upcoming sprint are discussed and a sprint backlog is created with all the tasks that will be completed during the sprint. Daily Scrum: A 15 minute meet up where the team discusses what was accomplished the previous day and what will be taken up the next day. Sprint review: During this event, which is held at the end of the sprint, the team demoes the work that has happened during the just completed sprint. Valuable feedback is collected from the product owner as well as stakeholders, and any changes based on the feedback are incorporated into the upcoming sprint/s. Sprint retrospective: The last event during a sprint, the retrospective is a time for the team to reflect on the sprint that has just ended. They figure out what went well, what didn’t go so well, and how they can improve themselves and their work. A number of artifacts add value to Scrum and help in the planning and scheduling of work. The most important artifacts are: The Product Backlog: Maintained by the Product Owner, the Product Backlog is a list of all the tasks that must be completed before the product is released. Functionalities are written in the form of user stories, which are listed in order so that the team works on the most pressing tasks first. Sprint Backlog: This is a subset of the Product Backlog and includes the tasks that are required to be completed during the sprint. Burndown charts: As a visual representation of the amount of work left, these charts help teams to know where they stand with respect to work progress. Understanding the Project Manager Role in Scrum – The Scrum Master vs the Project Manager While a Scrum Master on an Agile team has often been compared to a Project Manager on a traditional team, this is true only to a certain point. The roles do overlap but there are quite a few differences between the two as well. Here are some of the ways in which the roles are similar: Both the Scrum Master and Project Manager work to improve the team’s productivity and enhance efficiency.  They are required to engage with the team for facilitation of work and to resolve any conflicts or impediments to progress. They are not the final decision makers on the project. In a Scrum team, the Product Owner has the final say on the product features and manages the Product Backlog. The Project Manager must get the final signoff from stakeholders and management. Both are roles that are much in demand and can get lucrative salaries that increase with the years of experience. There are many key differences between the two roles, which are listed out in the table below: Scrum MasterProject ManagerApproachFollows ScrumCan follow traditional or any Agile approachKnowledge areasContributes to resource, quality and scope management areasContributes to all 10 knowledge areas of project managementTeam sizeWorks with a small team of 5 to 9Handles a bigger team or several teamsMeetingsFacilitates Daily Scrum, Planning and Retrospective eventsDecides frequency of meetingsAssigning tasksScrum Master does not assign tasks as teams are self-managingProject owner assigns tasks to individualsPlanningScrum Masters plan to deliver highest product value, while scope can changePlan and schedule scope of the project, keeping timelines and cost in mindFocus on QualityMaximises quality at every stageKnows the importance of quality, but usually hires a quality consultant rather than enforcing it themselvesGoalsEnsures that team members are following Agile practices. Acts as a coach, mentor, guide, facilitator, leader and trainer.Completing the project on time, within the planned budget, and the defined scopeShifting from a traditional project management approach to scrum project management requires a change in mindset, and also a radical adjustment in terms of the team activities, roles and responsibilities, and ways of working.Managing a Scrum projectScrum teams use many tools to manage the project through its lifecycle. Quite a few teams start with a simple Excel spreadsheet for the backlog, that can be shared between team members to ensure everyone has visibility into the tasks in real time. They use task boards that could be put up on the wall, sometimes in the form of a whiteboard that is constantly updated or sticky notes that are moved between columns to indicate work progress. This approach works well for smaller teams located within the same office. But as the size of the team and the complexity of the project increases, they could turn to sophisticated productivity tools and software for centrally managing projects and enabling cross-team collaboration. Some of these tools include: Trello monday.com Jira ClickUp Hive Targetprocess  Conclusion Scrum is the overwhelmingly preferred Agile method, used by 40% of respondents. State of Scrum Report Leading corporates ranging from Google, Apple and Facebook to Adobe, Airbnb and Spotify have reaped the benefits of Scrum for their day-to-day operations. Jeff Sutherland, in his popular book “Scrum: The art of doing twice the work in half the time”, claims that by using Scrum companies have recorded productivity gains of as much as 1200%. Scrum is ground-breaking and immensely efficient and has fundamentally disrupted the way in which projects are managed.  The popularity of Scrum is set to soar even further, and if you’re looking to enter the Scrum world, there’s no better time than now! 
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What Is Scrum Project Management

Susan May
Blog
01st Sep, 2021
What Is Scrum Project Management

Way back in 1986, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka drafted a paper for the Harvard Business Review that made history in the project management world. In this paper, titled “The New Product Development Game,” they talked about the benefit of self-organizing teams in achieving successful deliveries, and used the term “Scrum” as a metaphor from the popular sport of rugby to describe their line of thought.


Since then, Scrum has come a long way. As the most popular agile framework used to deliver working products or solutions in short increments of duration, Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps teams to find solutions for complex adaptive problems while maximising the product value. 

Defining Scrum Project Management

Scrum is one of the agile methodologies designed to guide teams in the iterative and incremental delivery of a productPMI Learning Library 

While traditional project management processes keep requirements fixed in order to control the cost and time, Scrum works the other way around; fixing cost and time while allowing requirements to change. This allows for flexibility and the ability to embrace change. 

What is the Value of Scrum Project Management?

As an Agile framework that helps teams roll out successful projects, Scrum has proven itself time and again. The Scrum framework has been deployed across diverse industries and verticals, helping with quick releases of product increments to end users and higher quality at lower costs.  

It comes with a whole host of benefits that far outweigh the short learning curve required to implement Scrum. Some of the ways in which Scrum adds value are: 

  • As with all Agile methodologiesScrum allows the team to adapt to the inevitable changes during the development cycle. 
  • Scrum allows smooth communication between the people who are doing the work and the people who need the work done.  
  • There is constant interaction and feedback from customers, ensuring that the end-user needs are met. 
  • Scrum increases team collaboration. 
  • Teams can deliver product increments quickly, ensuring that customers do not wait till the project ends to start using the product. 
  • Maintaining quality is a core priority and is made possible through frequent retrospectives and improvement cycles. 
  •  Risk is minimised as the samples of product increments are made available for stakeholder feedback and approval are regular intervals. 
  • Scrum enables costs to be minimised, as the approach is toward fixed timescales, fixed budgets, and evolving requirements.  

Scrum’s ability to adapt to emerging requirements, the constant involvement of stakeholders and end users, and the emphasis laid on continual improvement ensure that the team builds a product of the highest quality that offers real value and benefits to the customer. 

How does Scrum Project Management work?

Scrum works through short, cyclical iterations called sprints, that are repeated till all the work items have been completed and the product is released. This allows complex work to be broken down into smaller chunks that are manageable and easily understood. Tasks are prioritized, and work that matters most is completed first.  

The Scrum Guide prescribes three roles or accountabilities: that of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Developers.


 

  • The Product Owner works closely with the stakeholders to identify requirements, creates the product vision, and goals and communicates them to the team. Product functionality and features are ordered in the form of a prioritized list called the Product Backlog, which is groomed and reordered in line with emerging requirements. 
  • The Scrum Master is the coach, mentor, facilitator, and leader all rolled into one. As the captain of the ship, the Scrum Master navigates the team through all uncertainties, smoothening lines of communication and removing impediments to progress. 
  • The Developers do the actual work of developing the product. They participate in all events and work together as a cross-functional and self-managed team. 

Scrum measures progress through sprints of a 2-to-4-week duration. Several meetings or events help to maintain the cadence of the activities as the project progresses. These include: 

  • Sprint planning: A session that happens at the beginning of the sprint, when the goals for the upcoming sprint are discussed and a sprint backlog is created with all the tasks that will be completed during the sprint. 
  • Daily Scrum: A 15 minute meet up where the team discusses what was accomplished the previous day and what will be taken up the next day. 
  • Sprint review: During this event, which is held at the end of the sprint, the team demoes the work that has happened during the just completed sprint. Valuable feedback is collected from the product owner as well as stakeholders, and any changes based on the feedback are incorporated into the upcoming sprint/s. 
  • Sprint retrospective: The last event during a sprint, the retrospective is a time for the team to reflect on the sprint that has just ended. They figure out what went well, what didn’t go so well, and how they can improve themselves and their work. 

A number of artifacts add value to Scrum and help in the planning and scheduling of work. The most important artifacts are: 

  • The Product Backlog: Maintained by the Product Owner, the Product Backlog is a list of all the tasks that must be completed before the product is released. Functionalities are written in the form of user stories, which are listed in order so that the team works on the most pressing tasks first. 
  • Sprint Backlog: This is a subset of the Product Backlog and includes the tasks that are required to be completed during the sprint. 
  • Burndown charts: As a visual representation of the amount of work left, these charts help teams to know where they stand with respect to work progress. 

Understanding the Project Manager Role in Scrum – The Scrum Master vs the Project Manager 

While a Scrum Master on an Agile team has often been compared to a Project Manager on a traditional team, this is true only to a certain point. The roles do overlap but there are quite a few differences between the two as well. 

Here are some of the ways in which the roles are similar: 

  • Both the Scrum Master and Project Manager work to improve the team’s productivity and enhance efficiency.  
  • They are required to engage with the team for facilitation of work and to resolve any conflicts or impediments to progress. 
  • They are not the final decision makers on the project. In a Scrum team, the Product Owner has the final say on the product features and manages the Product Backlog. The Project Manager must get the final signoff from stakeholders and management. 
  • Both are roles that are much in demand and can get lucrative salaries that increase with the years of experience. 

There are many key differences between the two roles, which are listed out in the table below: 


Scrum MasterProject Manager
ApproachFollows ScrumCan follow traditional or any Agile approach
Knowledge areasContributes to resource, quality and scope management areasContributes to all 10 knowledge areas of project management
Team sizeWorks with a small team of 5 to 9Handles a bigger team or several teams
MeetingsFacilitates Daily Scrum, Planning and Retrospective eventsDecides frequency of meetings
Assigning tasksScrum Master does not assign tasks as teams are self-managingProject owner assigns tasks to individuals
PlanningScrum Masters plan to deliver highest product value, while scope can changePlan and schedule scope of the project, keeping timelines and cost in mind
Focus on QualityMaximises quality at every stageKnows the importance of quality, but usually hires a quality consultant rather than enforcing it themselves
GoalsEnsures that team members are following Agile practices. Acts as a coach, mentor, guide, facilitator, leader and trainer.Completing the project on time, within the planned budget, and the defined scope

Shifting from a traditional project management approach to scrum project management requires a change in mindset, and also a radical adjustment in terms of the team activities, roles and responsibilities, and ways of working.

Managing a Scrum project

Scrum teams use many tools to manage the project through its lifecycle. Quite a few teams start with a simple Excel spreadsheet for the backlog, that can be shared between team members to ensure everyone has visibility into the tasks in real time. They use task boards that could be put up on the wall, sometimes in the form of a whiteboard that is constantly updated or sticky notes that are moved between columns to indicate work progress. 

This approach works well for smaller teams located within the same office. But as the size of the team and the complexity of the project increases, they could turn to sophisticated productivity tools and software for centrally managing projects and enabling cross-team collaboration. 

Some of these tools include: 

  • Trello 
  • monday.com 
  • Jira 
  • ClickUp 
  • Hive 
  • Targetprocess  

Conclusion 

Scrum is the overwhelmingly preferred Agile method, used by 40% of respondents. State of Scrum Report 

Leading corporates ranging from Google, Apple and Facebook to Adobe, Airbnb and Spotify have reaped the benefits of Scrum for their day-to-day operations. Jeff Sutherland, in his popular book “Scrum: The art of doing twice the work in half the time”, claims that by using Scrum companies have recorded productivity gains of as much as 1200%. Scrum is ground-breaking and immensely efficient and has fundamentally disrupted the way in which projects are managed.  

The popularity of Scrum is set to soar even further, and if you’re looking to enter the Scrum world, there’s no better time than now! 

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

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