Scrum – Agile Development Tool

Developing software is tough today. Thanks to Covid 19, the economic pressures are tough for everyone – from the client to the software developer. The need of the hour is to accelerate time-to-market, cut on the development costs, and deal with painful constraints in budgets and staffing. What makes development a daunting task, especially for complex projects with multiple users, is that the clients do not really know what they exactly want, and the developers do not know what exactly the client expects. The traditional way of software development makes bridging this gap an onerous task. In addition, a software development project needs to adjust to constantly changing requirements. As a result, software development practices are going through a continuous evolution to make them more efficient and more flexible. Agile software development is one such paradigm that tries to mitigate the tedium of linear software development (the so called ‘waterfall method’).  The principles of agile development have been amended and applied to match the specific needs of creating high-quality software very efficiently. Agile software development aims at the right balance between reliable structures and sufficient flexibility to accommodate change. There are various methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, Lean Programming, Agile Unified Process, Extreme Programming and others that incorporate the tenets of agile development. In this article, we will talk about Scrum, one of the most popular ways to incorporate principles of agile development.

Introducing Scrum
Scrum is an extremely efficient and streamlined process of managing and tracking teams. The aim of Scrum is to help stakeholders solve problems in product creation with extreme flexibility. The Scrum framework aims to address adaptive and complex problems with the highest productive value without compromising productivity in the process. It is generally believed that Scrum was introduced by Takeuchi, DeGrace, Schwaber, and others in the late 1990s. The main concept behind Scrum is to simplify project management. An important aspect of Scrum is that the customers can change their mind about their needs as necessary to ensure they are getting the product they want and need at the end. This approach is based on the principles of agile development. It is a rough outline of a process, based on iterative development. Like the game on which it is based, Scrum essentially comprises of three roles – that of the product owner, team, and scrum master.

The product owner represents the entity that wants to develop the software. It is the job of the product owner to ensure that he or she is representing the interests of all stakeholders The product owner is commonly a lead user of the system or someone from marketing, product management or anyone with a solid understanding of users, the market place, the competition and of future trends for the domain or type of system being developed. The development team is just called team. It is responsible for developing and testing the project deliverable. The Scrum team is a small, cross-functional group whose members have the skills required to deliver the business value requested by the product owner. The team doesn’t always include just developers; database architects, UX designers and content writers can be a part of the team too. The key for a Scrum team is to be flexible; collaboration and planning the backlog is planned properly. . As a Scrum rule of thumb, collaboration is involved in their day-to-day roles. They determine how to perform the work to create the product and work autonomously to manage and complete their work. It is given that the team works as such; everyone helps everyone else in taking the project forward. The Scrum master is like the conductor of an orchestra; he / she leads a team through a project using agile project management techniques. A scrum master facilitates all the communication and collaboration between leadership and team players to ensure a successful outcome. Good scrum masters are committed to the scrum foundation and values, but remain flexible and open to opportunities for the team to improve their workflow.

Any project done using scrum is done within short iterations, known as sprints that are within time boxes, which would range from a week to a calendar month. During these iterations, a cross-functional team does all the work.

Scrum also incorporates three principles that go a long way towards the success of a project:

 1. Transparency
All important steps and aspects of all processes are visible to those who are responsible for outcomes. That means that everyone involved knows when a part of the process is already successful or completed, and everything understands what they steps need to be taken to ensure the success of a particular task.

2. Inspection

Those who are using Scrum are bound to always check artifacts and progress in Sprint Goals in order to see if there are any variances that they do not want. Of course, everyone involved knows that checking their progress should not get in the way of work.

3. Adaptation
If the person that took care of the inspection sees that there are aspects of the process that would make the end product unacceptable, then materials and processes are immediately adjusted to create the desired outcome. These adjustments are made as soon as possible in order to minimize any other resulting deviations.

Because Scrum stands on these pillars, people who use this framework does not have to rely on a single team to fulfill stages before they even have an idea of what they are supposed to create and to see if the product that they are making will actually work.

Since Scrum eliminates the waiting time between stages and immediately points out what process people concerned are taking care of, it is easier to see if the people involved are making progress or if they need to make corrections. This effectively cuts the time and budget people need to spend to complete projects.

Of course, Scrum is only one tool that helps streamline agile development – there are others as well. To get a good grounding in Scrum and software development in general, you need to study and practice a lot. If you are interested in making a career in software or web development, there are many reputed institutes in India that impart theoretical as well as practical training.