Alongside the growth of the internet and the evolution of computers and hardware, software development has not been spared. Much has changed and we are yet to see even more change as technology continues to advance with the development of Agile and adopting scrum for organisations.
Today, the focus is on speed, quality, and customer value. Development life cycle timelines have greatly reduced thanks to higher demand for applications. Software development models have been refined from the Waterfall approach which followed the overly rigid procedure of requirements – design – implementation – verification – maintenance to the more flexible and predictable iterated Agile process which resulted in faster deployments thanks to better collaboration between development teams.
The open-source concept is gaining momentum with only 5 open source languages available by 1995 to well over a hundred languages that we see today. These include Python, Java, and R which have grown in popularity. Additionally, there are more code libraries and frameworks for literally everything.
The demand for web-supported consumer apps has gone over the roof. While there is a shift, from the desktop-limited client-server applications, web and mobile applications have become the norm with the growth in mobile phone ownership. There is more than technologies like DevOps and the Cloud are bringing to the table. Developers can now go beyond building and developing applications to testing and releasing them on the cloud platform.
Today, it is quite the norm for a professional software developer to decide to go solo rather than venture into employment and work as part of a team.
What is Agile and Scrum
Agile refers to a group of methodologies that use the iterative concept in software development. The iterative development concept breaks down a large project into smaller pieces allowing for continuous development and testing of the software as it goes through the SDLC phases. This fosters collaboration and communication between self-organized cross-functional teams. It encourages all stakeholders, including the clients to join together in the product development process.
The Agile methodology is based on the principles and practices laid out in the Agile Manifesto which promote strict discipline and involvement of all stakeholders in the process. It focuses on adaptation and frequent testing which ultimately results in fast deliveries of high-quality software in line with customer requirements and the business objectives. The Agile methodology is not limited to software development. It can be applied to other hardware projects in different industries.
Scrum, on the other hand, is a subset of Agile. Scrum is one of the frameworks under Agile that is used in the implementation of the Agile development methodology. It is a lightweight (in terms of cost) process widely used for complex projects and breaks the process into cycles called sprints.
Scrum processes are based on the following principles.
- Empirical process control. This principle focuses on transparency, inspection, and adaptation. This is because the progress of the development process is based on observation from the delivery of each sprint.
- Collaboration. The collaboration principle focuses on three main pillars that relate to the process, awareness, articulation, and appropriation towards the creation of value
- Self-organization – Team members are more productive, involved, and deliver greater value when each of them owns the process. Self-organization also creates an innovative and creative environment.
- Time-boxing.Time is a limited resource that requires proper utilization for increased productivity and maximum value. Time boxed elements in scrum include sprints, sprint planning meetings, sprint review meetings, and daily meetings.
- Iterative development. This principle has a direct impact on the project’s ROI. It focuses on dividing the product development project into smaller bits (sprints) which facilitates better management of changes in requirements to meet customer needs. Typically, the product will be tested and delivered to the end-user after every sprint for evaluation. This allows the incorporation of additional features in time.
- Value-based prioritization. Scrum focuses on maximizing value hence ROI right from the initiation of the project.
There are three main roles defined within a scrum project.
- Product owner. As the name suggests, he is the visionary behind the product or he represents the end-user of the product. He is responsible for determining and relaying the features of the expected product to the scrum team and following the process closely to get the maximum value out of the scrum team’s efforts.
- ScrumMaster. The is well versed with the Scrum framework and is responsible for ensuring that the scrum adheres to Agile principles and practices as agreed throughout the project development process. He coaches, educates, and guides the Scrum team and the product owner, conducts the Scrum team meet-ups, and resolves obstacles that arise in the course of development. He is more of a facilitator rather than a manager.
- Scrum team. The Scrum Team is a group of self-organizing and cross-functional individuals, usually between 5 and 9, who are responsible for the hands-on development and testing of the product and delivering it within the required time and specifications.
Reasons for adopting Scrum
- Framework for complex projects. It is among the best frameworks for managing complex product development projects as it is based on iterative and incremental practices.
- Highly adaptive. It is adaptive allowing a business to quickly adjust to changing requirements to deliver high-quality software that meets both client and business needs.
- Rapid delivery. It allows for the rapid deployment of high-quality software as the product is delivered to the client for review after each sprint.
- Good overhead management. It helps the business anticipate, estimate, and keep overheads to a minimum while maximizing productivity
- Self-organization of team Scrum empowers the team to active participation by fostering self-organization and cross-functionality in the entire development team.
- Collaborative. Scrum promotes collaboration which is achieved through daily evaluation team meetings conducted by the ScrumMaster. This also keeps everyone up-to-date with the progress of the project.
- Promotes innovation. Constant feedback after every sprint promotes innovation which ultimately results in high-quality and more functional software.
- Clearly defined roles. The scrum development team has defined roles assigned to the scrum team, ScrumMaster, and the product owner so that each person works within his domain while still adhering to the Agile practices. This encourages discipline and accountability through the entire product development process.
- Value delivery. The concept of delivering value to the end-user is entrenched in the team right at the launching of the product. This helps maintain quality in all processes from start to end of the development process.
Today’s software development processes are highly dependent on the scrum framework because of the numerous benefits that it offers. Becoming a certified ScrumMaster is not only rewarding but also a good addition in your CV as this credential is recognized the world over.
The csm course will empower you with the skills and knowledge required to implement the Scrum principles and practices successfully in a project. With this certification, you will be in the best position to drive the Scrum team to deliver great value in a product.
Great Post! It’s very informative, Thank you for sharing!
In my own opinion, scrum is the way to go when they want to adopt an effective framework for managing and delivering projects in an agile environment. Also, If organizations want to increase their staff productivity, they adopt scrum.