- Agile and scrum are two similar project management systems with a few key differences.
- Agile is more flexible and promotes leadership teams, while scrum is more rigid and promotes cross-functional teams.
- Agile lets teams develop projects in small increments called "sprints" and allows for more effective collaborations among teams working on complex projects.
- This article is for business owners and project managers who want to learn more about agile scrum methodology and how to implement it as a management process.
Agile scrum methodology is used by companies of all sizes for its ability to provide high-end collaboration and efficiency for project-based work. Agile and scrum are two different methods and can be used separately; however, their combined benefits make the agile scrum methodology the most popular use of agile. Here's the complete guide to agile scrum methodology.
Did you know? Agile and scrum can be used separately, but their combined benefits make the methodology popular.
How does agile scrum work?
Agile scrum methodology is the combination of the agile philosophy and the scrum framework. Agile means "incremental, allowing teams to develop projects in small increments. Scrum is one of the many types of agile methodology, known for breaking projects down into sizable chunks called "sprints." Agile scrum methodology is good for businesses that need to finish specific projects quickly.
Agile scrum methodology is a project management system that relies on incremental development. Each iteration consists of two- to four-week sprints, where the goal of each sprint is to build the most important features first and come out with a potentially deliverable product. More features are built into the product in subsequent sprints and are adjusted based on stakeholder and customer feedback between sprints.
Whereas other project management methods emphasize building an entire product in one operation from start to finish, agile scrum methodology focuses on delivering several iterations of a product to provide stakeholders with the highest business value in the least amount of time.
Agile scrum methodology has several benefits. First, it encourages products to be built faster, since each set of goals must be completed within each sprint's time frame. It also requires frequent planning and goal setting, which helps the scrum team focus on the current sprint's objectives and increase productivity.
What is agile?
Agile is a process that allows a team to more efficiently manage a project by breaking it down into several stages, each of which allows for consistent collaboration with stakeholders to promote steady improvements at every stage.
Key takeaway: Agile lets a team manage a project more efficiently by breaking it down into several stages.
What are the values of agile?
Agile was first described in the Agile Manifesto in 2000 by a group of developers who sought out a new method of writing software. The manifesto cites four values:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
What are the 12 principles of agile?
The Agile Manifesto also enacted 12 principles in reference to software development and was later reconfigured to fit a wider perspective of users:
- Customer satisfaction
- Early and continuous delivery
- Embrace change
- Frequent delivery
- Collaboration of businesses and developers
- Motivated individuals
- Face-to-face conversation
- Functional products
- Technical excellence
- Self-organized teams
- Regulation, reflection and adjustment
What is scrum?
In short, scrum is a framework for effective collaborations among teams working on complex products. Scrum is a type of agile technology that consists of meetings, roles, and tools to help teams working on complex projects collaborate and better structure and manage their workload. Although it is most often used by software development teams, scrum can be beneficial to any team working toward a common goal.
Who can benefit from scrum?
While scrum can be useful for a wide variety of businesses and projects, these are the most likely beneficiaries:
- Complicated projects: Scrum methodology is ideal for projects that require teams to complete a backlog. Scrum breaks down each process into bite-sized chunks that can make a complex project easier.
- Companies that value results: Scrum is also beneficial to companies that value results over the documented progress of the process. This is because scrum is focused on efficiency and innovation to drive results, rather than a detailed, rigid process.
- Companies that cater to customers: Scrum can help companies that develop products in accordance with customer preferences and specifications. Scrum is adaptable to change, making it key when responding to customer requests.
What are the benefits of agile scrum methodology?
These are some of the collective benefits of agile scrum methodology:
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Creativity and innovation
- Lower costs
- Quality improvement
- Organizational synergy
- Employee satisfaction
- Customer satisfaction
The greatest benefit of agile scrum methodology is its flexibility. With the sprint-based model, the scrum team typically receives feedback from stakeholders after each sprint. If there are any problems or changes, the scrum team can easily and quickly adjust product goals during future sprints to provide more valuable iterations. This way, stakeholders are happier because they get exactly what they want after being involved every step of the way.
Compare this with traditional project management systems, in which stakeholders do not provide frequent feedback and time is wasted making changes to the product halfway through development – or worse, such as the teams needing to start from scratch after the product has already been built.
To implement agile scrum methodology, there must be either a scrum expert in the company or an outside consultant to ensure scrum principles are being applied correctly. Agile scrum methodology involves precise execution and could result in serious problems if not done properly.
Tip: To implement agile scrum, you'll need an expert in your company or an outside consultant.
What are the different roles in agile scrum methodology?
Agile scrum methodology consists of two sets of roles: core roles, known as "pigs," and ancillary roles, known as "chickens."
There are three core roles: scrum master, product owner and scrum team. All of these people are committed to the scrum project.
- Scrum master: The scrum master is the facilitator of the scrum development process. In addition to holding daily meetings with the scrum team, the scrum master makes certain that scrum rules are being enforced and applied as intended. The scrum master's responsibilities also include coaching and motivating the team, removing impediments to sprints, and ensuring that the team has the best possible conditions to meet its goals and produce deliverable products.
- Product owner: The product owner represents stakeholders, who are typically customers. To ensure the scrum team is always delivering value to stakeholders and the business, the product owner determines product expectations, records changes to the product and administers a scrum backlog, a detailed and constantly updated to-do list for the scrum project. The product owner is also responsible for prioritizing goals for each sprint, based on their value to stakeholders, such that the most important and deliverable features are built in each iteration.
- Scrum team: The scrum team is a self-organized group of three to nine individuals who have the business, design, analytical and development skills to carry out the actual work, solve problems and produce deliverable products. Members of the scrum team self-administer tasks and are jointly responsible for meeting each sprint's goals.
Ancillary roles, on the other hand, are other stakeholders who are involved in, but not committed to, the scrum project. Typically, ancillary roles consist of customers, management and members of the executive team who are involved for the purpose of consulting, reporting progress and gathering feedback to better work toward delivering the highest value possible.
What is the training for scrum and agile?
Managers and employees can enroll in training for both agile and scrum through various online and in-person courses. Many educational training courses result in certification in agile or scrum methodologies. Agile training provides the trainee with the basic knowledge of agile and how to implement it to the rest of their team. Scrum provides similar training, including the basic agile overview; however, the training caters to the scrum framework.
To become a certified scrum master (CSM) or certified scrum product owner (CSPO), you must first prepare and learn the basic details of scrum through videos or a simple internet search. Next, find a suitable CSM or CSPO course, either through your workplace or another internet search. Once you've completed the course, you usually have to pass an exam to become certified. After certification, you're able to lead your team through the scrum process or provide scrum product details.
What are the differences between scrum and agile?
Although scrum and agile are similar, they have some key differences:
- Scrum values rigidity, whereas agile is more flexible.
- Agile leaders play a vital role, while scrum promotes a cross-functional team that is self-functioning.
- Agile involves face-to-face interactions between cross-functional team members, while scrum involves daily stand-up meetings.
- Agile is meant to be kept simple, while scrum can be innovative and experimental.
- Scrum delivers shorter, separate projects, while agile delivers everything at the end of the process.
Sara Angeles contributed to the writing and research in this article.