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Introduction to Scrum

Arteco - Information Technologies
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foto Ramón Arnau

Ramón Arnau

Gerente de Arteco Consulting SL

SCRUM is the most widely used agile methodology for software DEVELOPMENT. Its core principle is to make bi-weekly, RAPID DELIVERIES. How is this achieved?

Most companies that develop their own software using SCRUM aim to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. They achieve this by implementing rapid delivery cycles of new versions, aiming to differentiate themselves and validate new services or functionalities.

Why SCRUM Methodology Emerged

In traditional software development, the process of initiating a new information system relied on highly rigid methodologies with a waterfall approach. This approach demands that the current phase be considered stable and validated by key users before progressing to the next one. Often, signatures from responsible parties indicating agreement with the specifications are required, assuming responsibility for the contents generated in that phase.

While this approach can be useful as it involves many validations and certifications ensuring the project's correct progression, it also significantly increases the time required to develop any application. In the business world, where agility and innovation are essential, the waterfall development principle proves to be less agile.

What is SCRUM Development

To address this issue, agile methodologies emerged, aiming for a more dynamic mechanism of developing applications with periodic deliveries called sprints, applying incremental changes to the software. SCRUM is among the most famous agile methodologies.

SCRUM defines rules for agile methodology, leaving room for companies to adapt the general standard to their needs. This is because not all applications are the same, and they don't have identical functional or technical requirements.

How Tasks are Organized in SCRUM

In summary, SCRUM is based on planning task groups that will be addressed in bi-weekly deliverables. With the deployment of each new version, users are involved to review the changes made and assess the project's progress. They can make decisions that affect the planned task group, such as changing priorities, dismissing some tasks, or introducing new ones.

In SCRUM, the development team assigns themselves registered tasks, sometimes with the help of a coordinator known as the Scrum Master. They aim to resolve these tasks within a deliverable. However, a task might be so complex that it requires more than one sprint. If this is the case, the possible decomposition of the task into smaller ones should be considered.

To enable programmers to implement some of the planned tasks, the SCRUM team meets after each sprint to review the set of all tasks, known as the task pool, and determine which tasks will enter the next sprint. Each task is assigned a complexity score as an effort estimation mechanism. It is quite common to use Fibonacci series numbers in an attempt to create a scale that grows rapidly in complexity, avoiding the use of overly sophisticated scoring systems since, in most cases, only 3 to 5 different scores will be used.

Both end-users and any team member can register new requests within the pool. In each sprint, the team will collectively review which tasks should proceed to execution, respecting the decision of the user or users as much as possible.

How Communications are Conducted in SCRUM

In addition to sprint meetings, SCRUM generally establishes that at the beginning of each day, the team involved in the project must gather in sessions called daily meetings. During these meetings, all members stand and talk for approximately two minutes about what they plan to resolve that day, any problems they encountered in the previous day, or any limitations they face in solving a task. The decision to conduct the meeting with no members sitting is precisely to give it an agile and quick quality. If any of the points are complex enough to be addressed individually, the SCRUM master should take charge of the meeting to record the incident and proceed with the other topics. It is essential that the daily meeting be as brief as possible.

Still, the daily meeting is an extraordinary tool to avoid blockages generated by dependencies or technical problems. Team members can raise concerns to department heads, seeking help or resources to overcome obstacles in the project's progress. It also keeps the organization informed about the project's status and the direction it should take.

Where SCRUM can be Applied

SCRUM is not exclusive to software development, although many technology companies apply it. In fact, it is a project management methodology that can be implemented in many fields, as long as changing direction during project execution is not a significant issue, such as in construction or building. Its use is more focused on environments where teams consist of 3 to 12 members, and where the innovation or research component may be present without posing a severe risk to the project or the organization.

In environments where innovation or changing requirements could lead to significant problems, a traditional approach to waterfall methodologies would be preferable. Methodologies like Métrica v3, the best methodology for closed projects, are more suitable in that direction.

Conclusions on the Use of SCRUM

In conclusion, Scrum fits perfectly into software projects that aim to develop exploratory models of applications where the actual needs of users or the market cannot be precisely defined. It also works well in systems whose underlying technology is not yet mature and may undergo changes affecting how the provided services are consumed. Except for these scenarios, SCRUM ensures actions with a direct impact on the pursued objectives and almost constant review for adequacy in progress, avoiding over-costs.

Moreover, thanks to daily communications, everyone involved in the project stays informed of their responsibilities. Additionally, with bi-weekly deliveries, potential deviations in the final software are minimized, and risks associated with costly investments in tools that do not meet their objectives for end-users are reduced to a minimum.

Now you know, optimize your web development with Arteco Consulting, SL. Our team is skilled in implementing agile methodologies like Scrum, adapting to projects that require flexibility and constant adjustments. Looking for an effective approach for your exploratory applications or evolving systems? Contact us today and take your project to the next level with a guaranteed direct impact on your goals!

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