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What is SCRUM?

Scrum is a process in which a set of good practices are applied on a regular basis to work collaboratively, as a team, and obtain the best possible result of a project.

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SCRUM is a process in which a set of good practices are applied on a regular basis to work collaboratively, as a team, and obtain the best possible result of a project. These practices support each other and their selection is based on a study of how highly productive teams work.

In Scrum, partial and regular deliveries of the final product are made, prioritized by the benefit they bring to the recipient of the project. Therefore, Scrum is especially suitable for projects in complex environments, where you need to get results soon, where requirements are changing or poorly defined, where innovation, competitiveness, flexibility and productivity are fundamental.

SCRUM is also used to solve situations in which the customer is not delivering what he needs, when the deliveries are too long, the costs soar or the quality is not acceptable, when the ability to react to the competition is needed, when the moral of equipment is low and rotation is high, when it is necessary to identify and solve inefficiencies systematically or when you want to work using a process specialized in product development.

See in detail what are the benefits of Scrum, its fundamentals and its requirements.

The process

In Scrum a project is executed in short time cycles and fixed duration (iterations that are usually 2 weeks, although in some teams are 3 and up to 4 weeks, maximum limit of real product feedback and reflection). Each iteration has to provide a complete result, an increase in the final product that is likely to be delivered with the minimum effort to the client when requested.

The process starts from the prioritized list of objectives / requirements of the product, which acts as the project plan. In this list, the customer (Product Owner) prioritizes the objectives by balancing the value that they contribute with respect to their cost (which the team estimates considering the Definition of Fact) and are distributed in iterations and deliveries.

The activities that are carried out in Scrum are as follows (the times indicated are for iterations of 2 weeks):

Iteration planning

The iteration planning meeting is held on the first day of the iteration. It has two parts:
Selection of requirements (2 hours). The client presents the team with the prioritized list of requirements for the product or project. The team asks the customer the doubts that arise and selects the most priority requirements that it foresees that it will be able to complete in the iteration, so that they can be delivered if the client requests it.

Iteration planning (2 hours). The team elaborates the list of tasks of the iteration necessary to develop the selected requirements. Effort estimation is done jointly and team members self-assign tasks, self-organize to work even in pairs (or larger groups) in order to share knowledge (creating a more resilient team) or to solve together objectives especially complex.

Execution of the iteration

Each day the team holds a synchronization meeting (15 minutes), usually in front of a physical board or blackboard (Scrum Taskboard). The team inspects the work that the rest is doing (dependencies between tasks, progress towards the goal of the iteration, obstacles that may impede this objective) to be able to make the necessary adaptations that allow meeting the forecast of objectives to be shown at the end of the iteration. At the meeting, each team member answers three questions:

  • What have I done since the last synchronization meeting to help the team achieve its goal?
  • What I am going to do from this moment to help the team to fulfill its objective?
  • What impediments do I have or will I have that prevent us from achieving our objective?

During the iteration the Facilitator (Scrum Master) ensures that the team can maintain the focus to meet its objectives.

Eliminate obstacles that the team can not solve on its own.

It protects the team from external interruptions that may affect the goal of the iteration or its productivity.

During the iteration, the client together with the team refine the list of requirements (to prepare them for the next iterations) and, if necessary, change or replan the project objectives (10% -15% of the time of the iteration) with the objective of maximizing the utility of what is developed and the return on investment.

Inspection and adaptation

The iteration review meeting is held on the last day of the iteration. It has two parts:

  • Review (demonstration) (1.5 hours). The team presents the client with the requirements completed in the iteration, in the form of an increase of the product prepared to be delivered with the minimum effort. Based on the results showns and the changes that have taken place in the context of the project, the client makes the necessary adaptations in an objective way, from the first iteration, rescheduling the project.
  • Retrospective (1.5 hours). The team analyzes how their way of working has been and what are the problems that could prevent them from progressing adequately, continuously improving their productivity. The Facilitator will be responsible for eliminating or scaling identified obstacles that are beyond the scope of action of the team.
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