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TO SCRUM OR NOT TO SCRUM: 5 SITUATIONS WHERE SCRUM METHODOLOGY ISN'T REQUIRED

Marketing Manager
Anastasia Shevchuk

WHAT DOES SCRUM METHODOLOGY MEAN?

Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together. It is a project development approach in which teams work in "sprints" lasting between 1 and 4 weeks. Scrum encourages teams to learn from their experiences, self-organize while working on a problem, and reflect on their achievements and failures to continuously improve. As part of project planning, a team often develops a sprint for the following week, in which the developers plan, discuss, and analyze tasks before demonstrating the finished part of the product. Customers give feedback, add new tasks, and the team either starts working on the next feature or completes the remaining ones.

However, it's important to remember that not everyone is comfortable using Scrum methodology in project development. There are some exceptional circumstances in which a Scrum development approach is not the best choice!

LET'S SCRUM!

Let's imagine a hypothetical situation: a company has never worked with the scrum development approach, but after a thorough analysis of its competitors has found that their development processes are much faster. Sales are growing, new customers are appearing on the horizon, and so the product manager thinks: why shouldn't I try to implement scrum methodology to improve even further? He decides to inform his team that from now on, all tasks will be planned in advance and divided into sprints lasting 1-4 weeks.

Problem

Now let's imagine that the design team can't plan tasks a week in advance as it works simultaneously with four development teams all involved in the implementation of new features. They say it is impossible to plan tasks in advance as most of them are managed as they are assigned.

Solution

The Kanban framework will help in this situation. With the Kanban board the team will be able to see how many tasks need to be done ("To-do"), how many are complete ("Done"), and how many are in progress ("Doing").

Kanban will provide more flexibility in managing the task flow. Developers will add their tasks to the "To-do" column and the designers will perform one task after another. Unlike Scrum, they can accept as many requests as they want from other teams.

It is important not to forget about WIP (Work in Progress). This is a limit on the number of tasks that one employee can do at a time. Designers can take one task at a time, and will start the next one when they finish the current one. This approach will help workers keep their focus and developers make effective use of their limited resources.


SCRUM vs KANBAN

WE WON'T BE ABLE TO COMPLETE EVERYTHING IN A SPRINT!

When someone from the team doesn't have time to do everything planned by the end of the sprint there is a natural desire to postpone the demo so it can be fully completed. In this case, however, you still need to stick to the schedule. Regardless, it is always worth discussing the results of the work: what we made, what and why we didn't make it, and what we did to make it. This way we do not avoid problems, but meet them head on before finding advanced solutions. This approach increases motivation, and after unsuccessful planned demos, work responsibility.

Problem

Imagine: The developer does not meet the sprint deadline, but he has to finish integration with the payment service before the end of the week, however an error keeps popping up for an unknown reason. Moreover, the site's payment model needs to be finished as soon as possible as the release is scheduled for next week.

Solution

The answer to this problem is very simple: communication. Ask and discuss with employees what difficulties they face during the work process. Each member of the Scrum team does their piece of work during the sprint, but the developer may face a difficult task and need the help of a more experienced specialist and extra time to solve it. This is how pair programming came to be. In brief, it is an agile software development technique in which two programmers work together at one workstation. One is the driver, who writes code, while the other is the observer or navigator, reviewing each line of code as it is typed in. The two programmers switch roles frequently.

This kind of programming helps developers come up with new ideas for improvements and solutions to current problems.

A SCALABLE ERP-PROJECT WITH SCRUM? NOT A PROBLEM!

Enterprise resource planning systems are the backbone of most companies. Without them, nothing gets sold, manufactured, or shipped, and no one gets paid. ERP systems have lots of modules and features that take time to customize according to the organization's specific requirements. Furthermore, Enterprise resource planning projects are rarely completed in a few weeks, and are more likely to take a few years.

When implementing a new ERP system, it is important to think very hard about all development phases in scrum projects and apply them while planning sprints.

Problem

Imagine the situation: The company received a large and profitable order for the implementation of enterprise resource planning. Implementing a high-scale project like this requires the work of every department. How will they synchronize everyone and start sprint planning if one department can start tomorrow, but the others can't for a week?

Solution

In this case, The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) should work particularly well as it encompasses a set of principles, processes, and best practices which help larger organizations develop and deliver high-quality products and services faster. The Scaled Agile Framework is particularly well-suited to complex projects that involve multiple large teams at the project, program, and portfolio levels.

It takes four sprints, or about two months, to develop each increment. There is also the fifth sprint called a HIP sprint (Hardening, Innovation, Planning):

H-Hardening
Ensure that all program increment objectives are achieved and technical debt is reduced.

I-Innovation
Provide time for teams to generate new ideas or introduce innovations.

P-Planning
Conduct sprint retrospectives and complete the planning of the next Program Increment.

This kind of programming helps come up with new ideas for improvements and solutions to the current problems and is a vital part of project planning.
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LACK OF SELF-ORGANIZATION? IT'S TIME TO IMPROVE!

Scrum teams should be adaptable, self-organized, and cross-functional. Of course, if you have only recently started working with Scrum methodology, it'll be difficult to prioritize tasks at first.

Problem

Imagine 3 departments are working on the same project. The creation of a complex analytics module, for example.

Development team #1 is responsible for databases.
Development team #2 makes a connector which transfers data from the databases to the module.
Development team #3 builds graphs and charts based on the received data.

Each team has its own tasks, but they are all working on the same project. Once a month the company releases the analytics module with all updates, and at this point each team must complete their current tasks on time. If one of the teams isn't done in time for the release, then the rest complete their tasks and help the other teams.

At first glance this approach seems effective, but this is just an illusion as it takes longer to complete the tasks than if the lagging team tried to solve everything by itself.

Solution

The scrum approach encourages teams to be independent and self-directed, but not all developers have this experience. Programmers like to solve exciting tasks rather than spend time organizing a team, but this doesn't mean you will never be able to create self-organized teams, it's just going to take time.

The best way for the first time is to appoint a release manager who will quickly distribute tasks among the rest of the programmers.

LET'S EMBRACE SCRUM VALUES!

When the vital values of commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect are embodied by a Scrum Team, the key Scrum values of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to the fore to help build trust within a team. Transparent communication among all team members is a key to a project's success. We're going to look at how the 5 scrum values are now applied to scrum methodology in project development.

Problem

Imagine: The development team is not allowed to put forward creative ideas for successful project development.

Solution

When starting out working with scrum, identify general values to your team like: commitment, focus, openness, respect, and courage.

So, what are the 5 scrum values?

Let's look at each one in detail:

Commitment

Scrum teams must be able to work together as a unit to achieve a common goal. This means trusting each other to follow through on their tasks and deliver to the best of their abilities. This will only happen when each team member is fully committed to the team and the project.

Promote commitment by facilitating proper sprint planning and protecting teams from sprint changes and unnecessary pressure from product owners.

Focus

To help team members stay focused, Scrum masters can limit the number of tasks or priorities placed on each person during sprints. Additionally, encouraging full team participation at the daily scrum meeting can help individuals stay focused on their specified tasks.

Openness

Honesty and openness are paramount to project development success. The purpose of the daily scrum meeting is to identify and solve burning problems. That can't happen if team members don't share issues or roadblocks they're experiencing. Additionally, team members must be open to working with their colleagues and view them as valuable contributors to the project success.

Respect

Respect in the scrum development approach means trusting your fellow team members to fulfill their tasks, listening to and considering their ideas, and recognizing their accomplishments.

Courage

Scrum teams must have the courage to be honest, open, and transparent both with themselves and with customers about the project's progress and any obstacles they're experiencing. Team members also need the courage to ask for help when it's needed, to try new tactics or methods they're not used to, and to respectfully disagree and have an open dialogue.


SCRUM values

SUMMARY

We are sure you had many burning questions about Scrum before you read this article, like What does Scrum methodology mean? And What are the 5 scrum values? We hope you've managed to learn everything you need to know about project planning using all the phases in scrum project management, and when the best time to use them is.

Scrum can bring many benefits if implemented wisely. Learn what tasks this framework helps you solve, analyze your team's tasks, and compare them with what Scrum can offer.

If you have already successfully worked with the scrum development approach, it is not 100% certain that it will always help you. Don't ignore other frameworks and methods of organizing projects. Even if they are not as popular as Scrum, it doesn't mean that they are worse. Practice each one and find the most suitable for your business.


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