Agile methodologies are gaining ground in IT project management as they are recognised for their ability to accelerate the completion of projects while giving the flexibility to accomodate easily changes in the final product requirements virtually at any time during implementation.
One of the most popular member of this class is Scrum and in this first article I present the principles that govern its main features. In subsequent articles we will see some more specialized topics.
As stated previously Scrum is a project management methodology that belongs to the widespread family of Agile methods for software development. As such, it inherits several of their features, but also expands their capabilities.
Its main characteristics are:
- Iterative and Incremental process: Unlike the waterfall methodologies, Scrum is an iterative process whereby the functionality of the product is increamenting in each cycle
- Engaging all interested parties: It encourages the participation of various groups (development team, business owners, testers, etc.) in all phases of implementation, from the moment a mandate is passed to the closure of the project and the hand-over of the final product.
- Adaptive Project Management: Includes structured and systemic procedures to improve decisions, practices and management methods
- Minimum initial requirements: It focuses from the beginning on the project management and construction of the product based on specifications received throughout the cyclic process (customer-on-site)
- Scalable: Can be applied to projects of any size
- Sprints: Its iteration (a sprint) is a period of 2-4 weeks during which new features are added to the product
Scrum includes a number of roles which fall into two distinct groups, the Pigs and the Chickens, and the people involved in the project fall on one or the other based on the nature of their participation. These funny-sounding names were depicted from a joke about how a chicken to open a restaurant
The team has a responsibility to deliver the product. A team usually consists of 5-9 people with multiple functional skills to do the actual work (design, development, testing, technical communications, etc.).
- Business Owner
It represents the voice of the customer. He / she ensures the Group cooperates with the “right things” by the side of the business. This gives priority to product features. It may be a member of the team, but there may be a ScrumMaster.
- Stakeholders (customers, suppliers)
These are people for whom the project will produce the agreed interest and justify its production. Directly involved in during the reviews of the sprints.
People who have the responsibility to create an environment in which development is the product of the various organizations mentioned above.
In the next article in the series will see the process of how a project runs through the Scrum