Agile and Scrum: 101

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In this article, I will briefly address the question “What is agile project management?” as well as giving general information about the roles and meetings in scrum for those who will meet with the agile project management methodology.

Photo by İrfan Simsar on Unsplash

Every business sector has its own challenges. The software industry is no exception. The rapid changes in trends and demands are among the difficulties of working in this sector. For this reason, it is very important to keep up with change, especially in the software industry.

Agile Project Management

Agile project management is an understanding based on the principle of making the project development process in small steps. It rejects the method of developing the project behind closed doors and bringing it out at once. It encourages the development of the product iteratively. New features are added to the product, it should be delivered to users and people interested in the product.

Principle of Agile Project Management

The first steps of the agile project development method date back to the 1950s. However, the documentation of the principles coincided with 2001. Through this document, the boundaries of the agile project development method have been made clearer with 4 main articles and 12 rules.

The output we are trying to achieve with 4 main items is not just to obtain a working software. It is to obtain software that works in accordance with the demands of the customer. After all, a software project that does not do what is desired cannot be considered successfully completed.

Scrum

Let’s aim to reach a project management culture that can adapt quickly to change according to the 4 main rules suggested by the agile project management style. Scrum is one of the ways we can achieve this goal. In other words, scrum is one of the agile project management methodologies.

At the heart of the Scrum method are 3 principles: transparency, control, adaptation.

Transparency: The project process should not be carried forward in secret. The resulting good or bad developments should be followed by the relevant people.

Inspection: The improvements made on the product at regular intervals are delivered to the relevant people and the results are evaluated.

Adaptation: The project development process should continue not only according to the document prepared within the scope of the project analysis, but also by evaluating the incoming change requests.

Scrum Takımındaki Roller

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Scrum Master

People in this role should be familiar with the scrum rules. We can think of people in the role of scrum masters as support wheels on a bicycle. It is the job of the person in the scrum master role to help the people on the scrum team to act in accordance with the scrum methodology. We shouldn’t focus on the ‘master’ part and think of people in this role as managers. The scrum master plays an active role, especially in teams that have just adopted the agile project management style and are newly introduced to the scrum methodology and helps the transition process go smoothly.

Product Owner

As with the scrum master nomenclature, the naming of this role is very susceptible to confusion. The product owner alone is not the person who makes the decisions and has the power to impose them on the development team. The duties of those in this role are to facilitate communication between the development team and the stakeholders. The person in the role of the product owner determines what kind of improvements should be made on the product in line with the feedback and demands received from the stakeholders and prioritizes these decisions. It turns the developments into work pieces in line with the prioritized decisions and conveys them to the development team.

Development Team

It is the team formed by the people who make up the product. The team acts on its own, that is, it is autonomous. For this reason, there is no need for someone in the role of manager. In addition, team members may be specialized in different areas from each other. However, they still do not engage in a single job, they should be able to distribute tasks crosswise. Thus, the information about the product is not collected in a single person, but spread throughout the team.

Scrum Meetings

We mentioned that the basis of agile project development is the iterative development of the product. In the Scrum methodology, these iterations should be defined as periods between 1 and 4 weeks. The scrum team decides this period and during this time it adds new features to the product. The decided time cycle is also called a sprint. In other words, the concept we call sprint is the name given to fixed-duration iterations. The meetings in the Scrum methodology are also shaped around the concept of sprint.

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Sprint Planning

Sprint starts with the planning meeting. This meeting is held with the participation of the Scrum master, development team and product owner. The purpose of the planning meetings is to share some of the work in the product backlog with the development team, which includes the developments requested for the product. At the end of this meeting, the works decided to be done within the active sprint are taken from the product work list to the sprint backlog.

Daily Scrum Meeting

Daily meetings are held with the participation of development studies. Make sure that the evacuation of the Scrum master title is also attending the meeting and the daily meeting rules are followed. Although it is not mandatory for the product owner to participate, it is a good opportunity to participate and learn about the process.

In daily meetings, the people in the development team explain what they did yesterday and what they will do today. The purpose of telling them is not to give account, but to share information with their teammates. If there is an issue that is blocked or awaited help in completing the tasks undertaken, it is stated in this meeting.

It is a meeting with a time limit. The meeting is expected to be completed in about 15 minutes. These meetings are usually held standing in order to prevent the meeting from being prolonged.

Sprint Review

This meeting is held with the participation of scrum team members (scrum master, product owner and development team) and key stakeholders. The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the features that have been developed during the sprint and have become a part of the product. We can say that it is a kind of advertisement of the product. Feedback is received from stakeholders and, if necessary, revisions are made on the product. It is one of the critical meetings used to involve stakeholders in the product development process.

Sprint Retrospective

It is the meeting held with the participation of the entire Scrum team. It is organized in order to evaluate the sprint process as a team. Discussions on what can be done better or what has been done well. Teammates give feedback to each other, and thus it is aimed to create a better functioning team.

It is a meeting with different formats such as Glad, Sad, Mad or Start, Continue, Stop. Open communication and trust among members are indispensable for this meeting.

Product Backlog Refinement | Grooming

It is done with the participation of individuals in the Scrum team. The purpose of the meeting is to organize the product business list and to elaborate the works. The questions asked in this meeting should be answered until the next sprint planning meeting and things should be clarified in this way. Thanks to this meeting, the jobs in the product business list will become clear and will become the common work of the whole team. As a result of this meeting, planning meetings will be more productive and shorter.

This meeting may not be held if there is a product work list that has been kept regularly. In other words, unlike other meetings, this meeting is optional.

I hope it has been a useful post. You can click this link to browse my other articles.

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