Why implement Scrum as an Agile software development methodology
April 29, 2019
Words like Agile and Scrum are commonly used in the software development industry, but they may be confusing to those who are new to these concepts. So in today’s video we’re looking at what being Agile involves, why our teams at VAIRIX implement Scrum as our methodology of choice, and how you can benefit from applying Agile and Scrum in your business.
Executing software development projects can present many challenges. Organizing your team effectively, properly managing scope, and delivering frequent and tangible results to your clients are just some of the factors involved. With so many variables to consider, it is crucial for all those involved in the decision-making and execution process to be aligned in order to ensure any project’s success.
And here is where Agile comes in as a set of values and principles that organizations and teams use to make decisions about the best way to develop software for their particular situation and reach their full potential.
Let’s go a little deeper into what being Agile actually involves.
What does being Agile mean?
As we just described, Agile is defined as a set of values and principles, as opposed to a strict framework or process of doing software development. This means that there is no one way to implement Agile, but rather, being “Agile” should come as a result of your processes following that set of values and principles. Hence, Agile provides teams with a flexible approach for making decisions about the optimal ways of developing software.
The Agile Manifesto is short and to the point, and basically states that some items in the software development dynamic should be valued more than others:
There are also twelve Agile Principles that aim to help guide teams to make decisions in specific situations:
Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
Working software is the primary measure of progress.
Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
The true value of Agile is that it enables organizations to properly align their teams under a shared foundation for making decisions. But what does Agile look like in action? The practices used to reflect the Agile values and principles can vary a lot from one team to the next. Let’s look at an example by breaking down how our teams at VAIRIX implement Scrum, which is the most popular method for Agile teamwork and is used by leading tech companies like Google, Adobe and Spotify.
Implementing Scrum for Agile software development
As the first principle of Agile states, our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. The client needs to be able to see working features that they can apply to their products, and they need this to happen frequently in order to make any necessary adjustments. Scrum is our chosen approach to making this happen.
It all starts with the client’s idea, and it’s not uncommon for some clients to have an overall vision for what the project requirements are going to be, but still not have a detailed breakdown. So the first step in our collaboration usually involves working closely with them to define a global vision for most of their requirements. This is reflected on what is called the Product Backlog, which is a list of desired features ordered by priority.
Once the product backlog is agreed upon, work is organized and planned in intervals or cycles called sprints, which usually have a duration of two weeks. Before the start of each sprint, we have a planning meeting with the client and help them choose what items from the backlog will be developed, and we commit to our time estimation for their delivery by the end of that sprint.
Throughout each sprint we focus on having constant, responsive real-time communication between our team and the client to keep them in the loop of all progress and enable them to assess the project’s status at all times. We achieve this by holding daily meetings to report on progress and exchange feedback.
By the end of each sprint, the client receives a potentially releasable product increment, and a sprint review meeting is conducted to show what work has been accomplished during this time frame. The team also hold a retrospective meeting to review the work process and look for areas of improvement.
The team and the client then proceed to choose the items from the backlog for the next sprint, and the sprint cycle is repeated until the product is completed.
Reap the benefits of Scrum
Implementing Scrum as an Agile methodology enables effective team and client alignment under a common foundation for decision-making, and allows teams to see their products evolve in real time as they build and adjust them.
These are some of the main benefits of using Scrum:
- Ensuring that the most valuable work has been completed by the time that the project ends
- Reducing delivery time so that the client can see a developed and potentially releasable product
- Continuous testing and of the product as it is developed to perform necessary adjustments, thereby reducing the risk of a failed project
- Transparency between the client and the team as they are both involved in the process, helping manage expectations. The team is also fully aligned with the goals of the project and the client.
- Flexibility to make changes and improvements to the product along the way
- Focusing on building a valuable product for the end user
Our teams at VAIRIX are seasoned in Agile and Scrum best practices, which we apply in our day to day work for our partners in the US. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you build your next innovation, feel free to get in touch with our team.