A Beginner’s Handbook to Scrum Project Management

what is scrum project management

Scrum project management methodology is the new craze of the business world of this century, and for deserving reasons too.

Unlike traditional project management methods like the waterfall method, where all the team members are treated as equals; there is no boss on your head to direct you in your every step, and you do not need to work for years to get to see what you are doing.

With so many industries are using scrum project methodologies to get their projects done, both online and offline, you must be wondering what is this method, and how you can implement it in your work.

Do not worry, as we have covered all the things you need to know. Just go through the post and get your basics cleared on this topic.

» What is Scrum Project Management?

Scrum methodology is a team-centric, flexible, and multidisciplinary method, where a small, self-organizing team works iteratively with a strong focus and delivers value regularly.

Well, that Scrum project management definition is a bit confusing itself. But do not get overwhelmed, as we are explaining everything by words.

A small team of 5 to 9 members work together in this Scrum project management framework.
The team is self-organizing, as the members adjust their goals and rectify their methods themselves.

They operate in small iterations or sprints, with a definite goal in mind each time. The sprint is usually two weeks long, which focuses on the topmost tasks at hand and provides the output quickly to the users. So it delivers value regularly.

These closely-knit teams are the essence of the scrum methodology, and their flexibility to adjust according to the need of the market always keeps it up-to-date and user-friendly. Due to the flexible nature, you can manage all sorts of the project by this technique.

If you are familiar with Agile project management, chances are you must be thinking, “Okay, now Agile got a new name suddenly?”

Well, yes and no.

Yes, this is a variant of Agile Methodology, true. Both are iterative methods to resolve any miscommunication with the user’s end.

But it is more like a subset of Agile. The sprint concept, and role of the scrum master who keeps the obstacles away, and the frequent meetings make scrum project methodologies more structured and easy to operate.

» What is the History of Scrum Project Management?

If you are familiar with Rugby, you might have a Deja-vu while listening to this name scrum.

And sure, that game worked as an inspiration for this methodology.

Scrum project management history started in 1986 by Hirotaka Takeuchi, and Ikujiro Nonaka, after they wrote an article stating about the tight bond of players and the self-adjusting method of Rugby can be used to manage industrial projects. The name of that article was “The new new product development game.” In the year 1993, Ken Schwaber, Mike Beedle, and Jeff Sutherland used the word “Scrum” and modified the scrum project management methodology. After that, experts have published many books on this topic, and numerous projects have filled the scrum history timeline to date.

There is a term “scrummage” used in Rugby, the players use it to start playing again without causing any unnecessary loss of time. There, when the ball goes out of the playground suddenly, the players make a circle and take back the ball to the ground, and resume their game without any time-out. In this case, the same concept, and they derived the term “scrum” from scrummage.

Since then, scrum history, and evolution has taken a lot of turns and came to a framework that it is in now. But as a flexible method, we speculate the frame of scrum methodology will continue to change even now as time will go.

» How Does the Scrum Project Management Work?

We have told you that the scrum project management process consists of a few iterations or sprints. But each of these sprints is made of some steps, that are repeated throughout the project again and again.

Here are the scrum project management steps or events needed in every project

1. Sprint meeting:

Meetings are held before every sprint where all the team members, along with the scrum master and product owner, and state their views. The following are discussed and finalized in those meetings-

The goal of the current sprint,
Calculate the deliverables,
Estimate backlog,
And finally, commit to the work.

If the deliverables are too much to accomplish in that sprint, the team reduces it further. The scrum master keeps reducing the workload till the team members agree to work on all the deliverables.

The most important tasks get completed first in these methods, and the rest of the tasks pile up as product backlog, and the product owner keeps a tab of them to finalize later.

2. Daily stand-ups:

In a 15 minute meeting, the team members discuss their works daily. It helps to keep the members synced and remove all the roadblocks smoothly. They discuss-

The work they did after the last meeting,
The work they plan to do that day,
And the obstacles they faced.

But they do not discuss any major problems there.

3. Sprint review:

After completion of every sprint, this meeting takes place with the product owner to-

Give a demo of what they have done,
The goals they could not achieve,
And all the new features they had worked.

4. Retrospective:

After the review meeting, they organize a separate meeting without the product owner to introspect on the tasks that went well, and that could not. They inspect and adapt to do better in the next project. It helps maintain transparency in the team.

» What are the Scrum Roles?

As you already know, there is no hierarchy in a scrum team. The team of 5 to 9 people that work together on a project are mostly working from the same office. Even if they are not, they keep up the frequent conversation to make that up.

A scrum team usually has three types of Scrum project management roles. All of them work simultaneously and are crucial to keeping up the balance of the project team.

1. Scrum master:

A scrum master is a leader and a guide for the team. This scrum master role in project management is not authoritative, rather a scrum master acts as the keeper and protector of the project, someone who is responsible to implement the planning to the actual project. The critical part of the scrum master roles and responsibilities is to remove the obstacles from the project so the development team can work smoothly.

They may work as a project manager initially, but after the team members become well aware of their positions and responsibilities, they come back to the original advocate role. One needs to be certified to be a scrum master as they have the responsibility to keep the progress of the entire project on track.

2. Development team:

The development team is the key to a scrum team. They are the ones who do the work. Be it the coding part, or anything else, the development team executes the main chunks of works during the sprint. The rest of the two roles are associates of this role. The team members may work from the same office or a distance, they have the same qualification or similar set of skills or different. But their expertise in their domains are similar, so they can collaborate well.

3. Product owner:

It is an essential part of the team. A product owner acts as a representative of the clients, or the proxy of the customer. They keep a tab on the requirements and changes required of the project from the customers. Their core responsibility is to track and manage the product backlogs.

Though there are distinctive scrum team roles like these, these roles are not too hardbound in the case of the scrum. All the members dedicate themselves to deliver a successful project. They all relax their boundaries and go beyond their expected roles to support the team when needed. This is the most essential part of the scrum methodology team structure.

Apart from these, there are some useful terms or artifacts that are essential for Scrum project management-

• Product backlog:

It is a list of all the tasks and functionalities that are to be added later in the project.

• Sprint backlog:

It is also a list of incomplete tasks. These are organized by the order of importance, and all of these are expected to be over in the upcoming sprint.

• Burndown charts:

It is the amount of work remaining in a sprint. It gives a glance view to know how far the sprint had progressed.

• Taskboard:

The task board is a simple table where all the tasks are listed and categorized.

» What are the Advantages of Scrum?

From the distribution of roles and flexible methodology, you can easily guess how beneficial this technique is to the industries, right?

If you are still unsure of its importance, here is a bunch of benefits of Scrum project management for you

1. Productivity:

Yes, boosting productivity is the top goal of any methodology, and Scrum methodology does its work the best. The iterative method, frequently consulting and reviewing keep the team members always on their toes, and getting to see the result of their work soon increases the overall productivity manifold.

• Quicker release:

The sprints usually last for one to two weeks, a maximum of 4 weeks. And after every sprint, a new part of the product is released, or a new update is there. So the target market remains interested in the project.

• Quality:

The project team can adjust the deliverable from the reviews from the clients, and reactions of the users. So the quality of the product or service is always assured.

• Cost-effectiveness:

Unlike the waterfall method, the team tests deliverable frequently, and there is no chance of a redo from the beginning after completing all the development parts. So the overall production remains cost-effective.

2. Teamwork:

The whole team works efficiently to work on the project, and strong teamwork goes a long way for any industry.

Collaboration:

The frequent meetings and daily stand-ups boost the transparency of a product or service.

• Communication:

Communication is essential for every business to work, and it goes a long way to establish a productive work environment as one of the advantages of scrum methodology.

• Employee morale:

Not having told what to do boosts the morale of the employee. They start to think and treat the work not as a mere job, but something they should be responsible for.

• Efficiency:

More efficient teamwork is a given result for a scrum project management methodology.

3. Incorporate changes:

They can modify the goals at the end of every sprint or even during the sprint. It makes it easy to incorporate any changes according to industry demands.

User satisfaction:

Getting the exact product or service that they need leads to complete user satisfaction that would never be possible by the traditional methods.

• Sustainability:

As new improvements can easily take place in this case, the deliverable is much more sustainable.

• Continuous improvement:

Continuous improvement gets a scope without much hassle as the sprint only lasts for weeks.

• Complex project:

A project team can complete even the most complex and high-risk projects from this by dividing the whole project into small parts for regular sprints.

• Update:

Finally, as the market demand, audience, or even the economic position changes, the team can adjust the deliverable quickly to fit the new situation via a scrum.

» Examples of Scrum Methodology

Though software industries widely use the scrum methodology, there are so many different uses of the scrum project management framework. From writing a book to organize a festival, you can find numerous applicable Scrum project management examples around you every day. You can even incorporate it for your projects or day-to-day life.

» What is the Best Project Management Software in the Scrum Methodology?

Though they started to use the Scrum methodology manually, most of the localized scrum group rely on the paper, whiteboard, and sticky notes to get their work done even now. But the teams working from a distance need the help of software for this methodology. It is also applicable for the people working from home, or even working as a freelancer.

Fortunately, there is a long project management software list to help you get through the sprints effectively. There are usually two types of project management software.

The offline software operates on getting a license, and you need to get licensed software for each of your working team members. But if they are working from home, getting the licensed software on their desktops become costly. And as you cannot share the information easily over the internet here, it becomes hard to collaborate and communicate. So most people use online software services.

Also known as SAAS ( Software as a service), these Scrum project management tools are easy to use, share information, make charts, and track progress. The team members or the management can see the status of the sprints at a glance too.

» Conclusion

As you can see, unlike Waterfall project management, the scrum methodology has a broad spectrum. You can apply it to so many fields with a different set of people.

The waterfall methodology is in use for over a century. But the approach of the scrum method is suitable for many industries. It is easy to adapt to the quick progression of technology and remain attractive to the restless target market these days.

In the end, though traditional methods like waterfall project management methodology still have scopes in some specific field, especially where the human lives are involved, the newer methods like scrum project management methodology are here to stay.

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