Scrum 101: Understanding Scrum Methodology and Project Management

Despite popular belief, scrum is not a methodology—it is a framework. Frameworks are less prescriptive than methodologies, yet still provide room for additional processes, structures, and tools as needed. To fully understand the Scrum framework, it is important to first have an understanding of agile development. 

Agile is essentially a set of principles supporting the continuous evolution of product development. It’s about continuously experimenting with processes, frameworks, tools, and practices to develop products to delight customers. Scrum is one of these frameworks. 

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The Scrum Framework 

Scrum framework is arguably the most popular, falling under the larger umbrella of Agile development. Scrum’s iterative and incremental approach provides teams with empirical evidence of their project’s performance. 

While originally focused on the software industry, scrum has expanded to many areas outside of IT, such as marketing, government, law enforcement, and military – specifically where complex problems exist. 

Benefits of a Scrum Framework

Among the many benefits of employing Scrum framework, the following advantages stand out: 

  • Better Outcomes- Scrum framework influences better outcomes because it encourages team members to be able to adapt and act based on actual current conditions, rather than predicted ones. In doing this, many pitfalls of a waterfall development model are avoided, thus allowing teams to have a successful result.
  • Better-Quality Products- Scrums requires transparency throughout the project’s lifecycle. This ensures that progress is being monitored and improved. Making changes as they come up means product-quality is checked and further enhanced.
  • Reduced Time to Market- Scrums employ frequent and iterative inspections which ensures progress and helps detect any issues early in the process. This allows adjustments to be made quickly reducing the time to market.
  • Improved Stakeholder Satisfaction- With frequent check-ins and quick adaptions, stakeholder satisfaction is generally improved when employing a scrum framework.
  • Better Team Dynamics- In a scrum framework, working as a team is the number one principle to success. Teamwork is emphasized by eliminating titles and only reporting with team metrics rather than individual. Additionally, it’s beneficial to encourage building team members with a wider breadth of experience, commonly referred to as T-Shaped people, that are better capable of focusing on the work needing to be done vs. individual specialty. 
  • Happier Employees- Scrum framework gives employees more control of their workflow. And, with frequent check-ins problems can be addressed and mitigated early.

Scrum Project Management

Agile development is a collection of many different processes & frameworks to support product development, Scrum is one of the frameworks and focuses on empiricism – inspection and adaptation through transparency. 

In the field of project management, Scrum is a way to manage outcomes by frequently inspecting progress and adapting the path forward by having short and highly focused conversations to make decisions. These are known as sprints.

To give end-users what they want, Scrum works in sprints to gather feedback continuously from releasable increments of the product while also building up the product iteratively.  

Roles in Scrum Project Management 

When looking at roles in a Scrum project management team, it’s important to remember that they possess equal importance with each relying on the other. 

  • Product Owner – This is the key stakeholder in the project. It is usually a customer or spokesperson. This person conveys the team’s mission and vision. Ultimately, the Product Owner is responsible for managing the product backlog.
  • Scrum Master – The Scrum Master is essentially the facilitator of the team. They ensure the team is following Scrum theory, practices, and rules. The Scrum Master is responsible for clearing any obstacles the team runs into over the course of the project lifecycle.
  • Development Team – This is the cross-functional group that joined together for this project. They reconvene at each sprint session.

At the End of a Sprint

When a sprint concludes, the team carries out a sprint retrospective. This is the final team meeting to determine the successes, challenges, and potential areas to improve for the next sprint. It’s an important opportunity for the team to retrospectively evaluate their performance and identify strategies to improve—the very idea of agile methodologies.

Implement Scrum Framework with Ease

The implementation of the Scrum framework can be complex. In order to ensure its success, strong leaders with the ability to adhere to the framework’s principles are necessary. That’s why partnering with Responsive Advisors helps your team seamlessly tie these concepts together.   

Responsive Advisors can partner with your team to help coach them through a project while applying agile development values, principles, and practices. Additionally, Responsive Advisors offers training courses that help ease agile adoption. From public classes, private classes, and even remote offerings, Responsive Advisors provides resources to help each member of your team navigate Scrum effectively. 

Robert Pieper

Robert Pieper has been a licensed Professional Scrum Trainer since 2014 and National Public Speaker since 2013. Robb holds an MBA from Marquette University and an Electrical Engineering Degree from Milwaukee School of Engineering. Robb has 15 years of professional software development experience with a passion for making Scrum work delivering real products and services
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