As I am involved as one of the members of the Scrum I should be able to let you know how Scrum works from my perspective. This first blog is simply an overview of Scrum and how it works from a slightly different angle to the blog by Pete. I’ll post up my experiences of Scrum in a follow up blog shortly.
Hopefully I'll be able to explain the title and what Scrum is to you.
Ok then, so what is Scrum? Wikipedia defines it as "a method for managing work, improving morale, and achieving very high productivity. A popular agile software development method for project management, Scrum is noted for its simplicity, its high level of transparency, and a team based approach to work."
So quite similar to how a lot of projects are run then? Well.. yes and no.
Normally we get a project to deliver something and decide on how it's going to be delivered; this is often done in a staged approach delivered in phases. During the course of each phase there are often items which get added and therefore the timescale gets pushed further back. With Scrum any new features are added to a product backlog to be delivered in a later phase, meaning that the current set of deliverables should still go live within the life of the first sprint.
So what are we going to use Scrum on? The first item we will trialling this method of project management on is the Manage My Mail tool. We are looking to redesign this to make it easier and more intuitive to use while still offering the functionality to make it useful.
The Product Owner works with the business to determine what features need to be delivered; he maintains this prioritised list as his product backlog. Once the backlog has been decided it is then time for the first planning meeting, typically for Scrum these can be up to 4 hours. Only pigs are allowed to be present during the planning stages of the Scrum, chickens have to stay clear!
Chickens, pigs?? Are you sure you haven’t gone mad? Well maybe I have, but chickens and pigs are integral to the working of Scrum. For those of you still reading here are the roles and rules of Scrum:-
Product Owner: The product owner is responsible for the backlog and prioritising the tasks on there
The Team: these are the people responsible for delivering the project during the course of the sprints, the team decide on what can be delivered during each sprint
The ScrumMaster: responsible for implementing Scrum, making sure everyone follows the rules
The three above roles are the pigs, these are the committed roles.
If you’re not a pig, then you are by definition a chicken - someone who is involved but does not have tasks.
Even though chickens may be interested in the project they are not allowed to interfere, it’s the job of the ScrumMaster to ensure this goes as it should.
Right, we know the project, the roles, the backlog has been determined and we’ve had the first planning meeting to decide on what we will deliver in the first sprint. Hmm, so what’s a sprint? I’m glad you asked, a sprint is a defined period, 30 days in this instance, to deliver a functional set of tasks. Once the deliverables have been decided for the first sprint, these cannot be changed; any new tasks that crop up will be added to the backlog for a future sprint.
Once the tasks for the sprint have been decided the next step is decide which members of the team are doing which tasks. It’s the teams decision how many of the prioritised tasks they can complete during the sprint.
On we go with the Scrum, I’ll do an update post partway through the sprint to keep you informed.