Scrum is one of the most widely used Agile frameworks, and it is adaptable to a wide variety of projects, irrespective of their scale or complexity. This tutorial talks about the key strategies you should adopt to implement scrum successfully in an organization.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is a popular Agile framework characterized by its iterative, incremental approach to delivering product features and business value. Scrum teams work in sprints, or short, time-boxed iterations, to deliver new product features or increments of work.
As the name implies, Scrum is an empirical methodology based on observations, experiences, and experiments. Scrum emphasizes transparency, inspection, and adaptability as its three pillars. It provides a disciplined and systematic way of managing a product or software development process. You can leverage Scrum project management on any project, whether big or small.
You can learn more about the Scrum project management and software development methodology by reading our guide: What is Scrum?
Implementing Scrum in an Organization
Example of Scrum Project Management Software, Asana
An organization will need to undergo a cultural transformation in order to successfully implement Scrum. The first step is to select a Scrum Master and Product Owner, who will be responsible for leading the project and ensuring that the Scrum framework is followed.
Each sprint begins with a planning meeting, during which the team decides what tasks need to be completed during the sprint.
The next step is to hold a kick-off meeting with all stakeholders to ensure that everyone is on board with the change and understands their roles in the new process. Once the team is assembled, they will need to go through a sprint planning session to set goals for the upcoming sprint.
During each sprint, the team will hold daily stand-up meetings to track progress and identify any obstacles. At the end of each sprint, there will be a review session to assess what was accomplished and identify any improvements that need to be made for future sprints.
Finally, it is important to retrospect on the overall project periodically to ensure that Scrum is still working well for your organization. In the sections that follow, we will examine the key strategies that can be adhered to implement Scrum successfully in an organization.
Define Your Scrum Team
The Scrum Team typically comprises five to nine people who are responsible for the development and delivery of the product increments. The ideal size is seven, but it can be smaller if necessary. The team should typically include:
- A Scrum Master is a facilitator who supports the team in its self-organization and assists with adhering to the Scrum process.
- A Product Owner who manages the product backlog and works with stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.
- A Development Team that consists of software developers and testers who collaborate closely together to implement the stories.
Define a Sprint Goal
You need to define your Sprint Goal – the thing you want to achieve in the next three to six months – before you start. Setting goals is important because it helps keep you accountable and motivated and can also help prevent burnout from working too hard for too long without a break.
Define Sprint Duration
Sprints typically last two weeks; however, their duration may be altered to be either longer or shorter according to the requirements of the team. Sprints provide a consistent cadence for the team and ensure that there is always a goal to work towards. When defining your Sprint length, it is important to consider the following:
- The amount of work that can realistically be completed in the time-frame
- The team’s availability and capacity
Once you have considered these factors, you can determine an appropriate Sprint length for your team.
Create the Product Backlog
The Product Backlog is the list of all features, functions, and requirements that are to be included in the final product. In Scrum, the Product Backlog is maintained by the Product Owner and updated throughout the Sprints. To create the initial Product Backlog, start by brainstorming a list of all potential features for the product.
Next, prioritize the items on the list by order of importance. Finally, estimate how much effort each item will require to complete. The Product Backlog is then ready for use during Sprint planning.
Conduct Daily Scrum Meetings
Each day, team members gather to discuss progress, roadblocks, and upcoming tasks. This meeting is a time-boxed event where you can get the most out of your daily stand-up by focusing on only the most important things at hand. The key elements of a Daily Scrum are:
- A short duration: ideally this should be less than 15 minutes.
- Timely execution at a time and location that is convenient for all.
- Attendance by all team members
Conduct Sprint Review Meetings
The Sprint Review Meeting is an opportunity for the team to demonstrate what they have accomplished so far during the sprint, i.e., the progress made thus far in the current Sprint. This is a great opportunity to visualize the progress and determine the deviations as far as reality and expectations are concerned and take appropriate remedial steps.
This is also a chance for stakeholders to provide feedback on what went well, and also how you can improve. A common mistake made by new Scrum teams is not providing enough time for stakeholders to review the product during this meeting. When this happens, there is no time for them to provide any meaningful feedback on your work.
Conduct Sprint Retrospective Meetings
Sprint Retrospective meetings are an opportunity for the team to reflect on their past Sprint and improve how they work together. This helps teams to detect problems and find areas for improvement, both of which are necessary to increase efficiency.
Sprint Retrospective meetings are a crucial part of Scrum, as it helps teams improve their processes each sprint. During the Sprint Retrospective Meeting, we talk about what worked well during the sprint and how it can be improved. Teams brainstorm ideas on how to increase productivity and efficiency based on what they learned from previous sprints.
Project managers should conduct a Sprint Retrospective meeting at the end of every sprint since it:
- Helps project managers understand the team’s process and identify areas that need improvement.
- Gives your team an opportunity to share feedback with one another.
- Allows you to see what has worked well in previous Sprints so you can continue doing those things again in future iterations.
The Product Owner then creates or updates the Product Backlog based on feedback from the retrospective and input from stakeholders. The team then plans for the next Sprint by selecting items from the Product Backlog to work on.
We also have a great guide on the Best Practices for Scrum to help you implement Scrum into your project management and software development processes.
Final Thoughts on How to Implement Scrum
Implementing Scrum in an organization successfully requires a lot of planning and work. But if you carefully follow the steps described in this article, project managers and business owners will be able to successfully implement Scrum in your organization.