How well are you acquainted with SCRUM? Are you following SCRUM to its exact form and using it to its full advantage? The answer is probably not. That is because you may not have realised that the SCRUM framework and its various aspects can be modified to meet the requirements of an individual project or organisation.
Scrum, for anyone unsure is a set of practices used in agile project management that emphasize daily communication and the flexible reassessment of plans that are carried out in short, iterative phases of work. It’s name originates from the sport of Rugby and the much like the scrums they have in the game, teams will huddle together regularly, but and not guaranteed, less rough.
Anyone using SCRUM can adapt it to what they are doing to make it work best for them. What cannot be modified, however and should be mandatorily used in all SCRUM projects, are the core guidelines, known as the Principles.
Empirical Control Process
These Principles emphasises the core philosophy of SCRUM, based on the three pillars of:
- Transparency – Giving visibility of the significant aspects of the process to those responsible for the outcomes. In other words, anyone from the SCRUM team is free to observe any other member of the group at any stage of the SCRUM process.
- Inspection – Carried out by the Product Owner who inspects all deliverables and collects feedback from the customer.
- Adaptation – Adjusting a process as soon as possible to minimise any further deviation or issues, so long as the SCRUM team is willing to adapt to any process approach and development methodology.
- Teams who are well established in using SCRUM will be able to use these Principles to gain valuable insight based on experience rather than written planning. They ask, “What will work/has actually worked for us?” instead of “What was written on the contract or plan?”
In a SCRUM environment, the assumption is that team members are all self-motivated, trustworthy, and able to take the initiative when in an innovative and creative environment, which is more conducive for growth. This removes the need for constant supervision and micromanagement and allows room for all participants to maximise quality and deliver fast results.
Collaboration promotes project management as a shared value-creation process with teams working and interacting together to deliver the greatest collective value. There are three core dimensions related to collaborative work:
- Awareness – Everyone is aware of one another’s work.
- Articulation – Although team members get to choose their own tasks, ultimately, the deliverables must be reintegrated within the group.
- Appropriation – The product is a means to an end. It can be used in a different fashion than expected if it works for the wider team.
This principle highlights the focus of SCRUM to deliver maximum business value from early in the project and continuing throughout. When prioritising tasks, the team assesses them based on three factors – value, risk or uncertainty and dependencies.
Time-boxing describes how time is considered a limiting constraint in SCRUM and used to help effectively manage project planning and execution. Time-boxed elements in SCRUM include Sprints, Daily Stand-ups, Sprint Planning and Sprint Review.
This simple Principle emphasises how to manage changes more effectively and to satisfy customer needs through such well-used measures as Version Control and Gate Reviews.
Working by the Principles
These Principles can quickly become a way of (work)life within established SCRUM teams. They are not something that get pointed out every day at a meeting or read out as a solemn oath, but they are inherently understood and adhered to by all involved.
By bringing these Principles together, in line with the SCRUM framework, values and the roles within a SCRUM team, you can expect to see such project benefits as:
- Improved communication and collaboration
- Enhanced risk management
- Increased visibility around project progress
- Ability to participate in the processes and respond to changes
- Ready-to-use aspects of the product in the early phases of the project
- Stronger evaluation of SCRUM tasks, processes, and demonstration of the product
- Business value increased
- ROI (Return on Investment)