With the idea being birthed in the 90s, Agile and Scrum are popular methodologies used for engagement and software development and have become quite the buzzwords in today’s IT world. What makes these methodologies so different from other traditional engagement models is their iterative nature which allows teams to collaborate better for faster and more efficient product delivery. Not only did the introduction of these tools help with cutting down tons of unnecessary documentation but it was pivotal in introducing flexibility into the software development process which allowed developers to incorporate the latest updates into the product they were building.
An Introduction to Agile & Scrum
Now that you’ve an understanding of how and why these methodologies have become cardinal in today’s software development arena, let’s get down to understanding what they really are and how we can harness their advantages to build robust software.
Let’s get started!
What is Agile?
As we have understood from the establishment of the topic, Agile is an iterative process which allows us to break down a vast project into smaller sub-tasks. Simply put, these sub-tasks are treated as smaller projects of their own and developers address a single sprint and introspect on the outcome before moving on to the next. These smaller but consumable increments in the project allow for developers to break down requirements and plans in such a way that there is a natural mechanism to respond to change as the results are evaluated continuously.
What is Scrum?
Put another way, scrum is a result of an Agile process. A team that is saddling the benefits of agile uses a scrum framework to empower teams to learn from each other and through experiences while continuously self-organizing to work on a solution. Using the Scrum framework to streamline software development allows teams to reflect on their wins and losses while consciously looking for areas of improvement.
Why use Agile & Scrum for software development?
While the following breakdown of agile and scrum approaches must have given you a peek into the many benefits of this process, let us delve deeper into their principles and how they address business requirements to understand why you need it for software development.
Principles of Scrum
- Welcomes Change- Scrum allows you to adapt to change even later on in the development process as it is an iterative process.
- Efficient Development- Using the scrum methodology, teams can put out results constantly with defined milestones/sprints.
- Inspect & Adapt- Scrum allows teams to constantly reflect on their progress while introspecting with all the hands on deck to pave the best way to move forward.
- Self-organizing Teams- Scrum teams are also self-organizing as the process requires constant coordination and collaboration amongst all stakeholders.
- Effective Communication- This is the foundation that the pillar of scrum stands on as regular planned scrum calls are a part of the process.
- Flat team structure– There is no subordinate superior concept in a scrum framework which allows everyone involved to communicate without inhibitions while being more disciplined and accountable.
- The Mantra of Unity- There is no man of the match when it comes to following the agile framework and team works more unitedly towards the goal as victories are shared
Benefits of Agile In The Software Development Lifecycle:
Let us understand the advantages of the Agile methodology and its benefits by looking at this following table which shows how the agile way of working addresses business challenges:
|Common Business Challenges||How Does The Agile Way Solve It?|
The Doctrine For Building An Effective Scrum Team
In the last segment of this introduction to agile and scrum in software development, let us look at the doctrine on how to build a scrum team which functions like a well-oiled machine, let us look at who consists of a scrum team and their underlying philosophies of working.
Agile Scrum Roles & Their Responsibilities Explained
- Product Owner- This is usually the product manager or the product sponsor who decides the features and functionalities of the product, their release dates and prioritization of tasks in the workflow.
- Scrum Master- The Scrum Master is responsible for the facilitation of the agile workflow and for instilling scrum principles and values into the process. He/she is also accountable for keeping all stakeholders involved and for removing any impediments or internal politics that may arise.
- The Core Project Team- The core project team consists of 5-10 individuals who are responsible for carrying out the execution of the agile workflow. They are spread across a cross-functional and self-organizing team consisting of programmers and developers, QA analysts, UI/UX designers etc.
The Tenets & Philosophies Of An Effective Scrum Team
A well-functioning and effective scrum team is built on top of certain philosophies which are the outliers which set it apart from traditional software development teams. Let us have a look at them here:
Understand your customer’s pain points
The chief objective of an effective scrum team is to understand the customer’s pain points. People don’t want a product without any utility! They want something that can add value to their lives. A good scrum team focuses on building user-centric solutions by understanding their customer’s requirements and pain points and tailoring their product around it.
Building a mindset of team-unity
The agile workflow follows the thought process of sharing both wins and losses. This encourages a mindset of standing united with the team instead of having an individualistic approach to the workflow. Moreover, the team is empowered to find the best solution to work with by having a collaborative approach through regular scrum meetings.
Fall down seven, get up the eighth!
The agile methodology encourages an environment where it is okay for an individual to fail and where solutions are found through team-effort. Sometimes, this is vital for building a great product as it allows the team to follow an interactive approach where they can round back to square one and start over with the learnings from the failure.
Eliminating the unnecessary
The “All hands on deck” approach which is a marker of a successful agile workflow is crucial in helping teams to focus their efforts on the right track. Developers set short sprints so that they have focused goals which prevents them from deviating.
A Short Product Backlog
By setting shorter sprints and well-defined goals, agile and scrum teams focus on deploying features regularly and efficiently. They know what matters the most as regular scrum meetings are held to discuss the progress and the roadmap ahead, thus helping a great deal in streamlining the workflow.
The agile methodology and the scrum framework of working have caught on in today’s competitive development environment for a good reason; they allow for freedom from the rigid practices of non-agile models. By yoking the many benefits of agile and scrum, teams are able to build better user-centric digital experiences even while spending lesser time on upfront planning. The concept of “being agile” empowers scrum teams to deliver products which are on-par with the latest industry standards which explains its popularity which does not cease to grow.
We hope this exploration into agile and scrum practices has given you an insight into how to bring about great results in software development by embracing flexibility. Tune into our blog for more info about the latest in the tech world!