Scrum Method: An Agile Approach to Project Management

In this article dedicated to the Scrum method, we will cover the following points:

What is Scrum?

Scrum method is a widely used agile framework in software development and other industries. It is an iterative and incremental approach to managing complex projects, focused on the rapid delivery of value by self-organizing, cross-functional teams.

The main characteristics of Scrum are:

  • Work is divided into sprints (iterations) of 2 to 4 weeks during which the team focuses on a subset of tasks.
  • Each day, a brief daily meeting (15 minutes max) allows the team to synchronize.
  • At the end of the sprint, a review is held to demonstrate the completed work and obtain feedback.
  • A retrospective at the end of the sprint allows the team to identify possible improvements.
  • A product owner prioritizes the backlog (task list) based on business value.
  • A scrum master facilitates the use of Scrum and removes obstacles.

The goal of the Scrum method is to promote collaboration, flexibility, continuous inspection, and rapid adaptation to changes. This enables the iterative and incremental delivery of value, closely involving stakeholders throughout the project.

scrum methode

What is the difference between Scrum and Agile?

The main difference between Scrum and Agile lies in their nature: Scrum is a specific project management methodology within the Agile framework, while Agile is a broader philosophy or general approach to project management.

Key differences between Scrum and Agile:

  • Nature: Agile is a project management philosophy focused on adaptability, collaboration, and incremental delivery, whereas Scrum is a concrete methodological framework for implementing the Agile approach.
  • Structure: In Scrum, work is organized into short sprints (usually 2 to 4 weeks) with defined roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner, development team), while Agile does not impose such a rigid structure.
  • Delivery: Scrum emphasizes the frequent delivery of product increments at the end of each sprint, whereas Agile aims for continuous delivery without defined cycles.
  • Application: Agile is a general philosophy applicable to various types of projects, whereas Scrum is specifically designed for product development, particularly software projects.

In summary, Scrum is a specific implementation of Agile principles with well-defined practices and roles, while Agile is a broader philosophical approach that can be implemented through various methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, XP, etc.

What are the 5 values on which the Scrum model is based?

The Scrum model is based on five fundamental values: Focus, Openness, Respect, Courage, and Commitment. These values, forming the acronym FORCE, aim to foster behaviors and adapt to the challenges of creating complex products. They create a mindset conducive to experimentation and learning in a secure environment.

Focus

The value of focus emphasizes the importance of concentrating on the work at hand. In the context of Scrum, this means that teams should focus on the sprint goals and delivering value in each iteration. By eliminating distractions and prioritizing tasks, teams can accomplish their work more efficiently and consistently achieve their objectives.

Openness

Openness involves transparency and honest communication among team members. It is essential for team members to share their progress, difficulties, and ideas without fear of judgment. This value encourages an environment where problems can be quickly identified, and solutions can be collaboratively developed. Openness also fosters a better understanding of processes and goals, promoting closer cooperation among team members.

Respect

Respect is the cornerstone of positive interactions within the team. Each member should be respected for their skills, contributions, and opinions. A respectful environment makes members feel valued and encourages engagement and collaboration. Mutual respect also strengthens trust within the team, which is crucial for the success of Scrum projects.

Courage

Courage is necessary to face the challenges and uncertainties inherent in complex projects. Team members must have the courage to make difficult decisions, propose innovative ideas, and speak up when encountering obstacles. Courage is also essential for accepting failures as learning opportunities and persevering despite difficulties. By cultivating courage, Scrum teams can overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Commitment

Commitment refers to the dedication and responsibility of team members towards their goals and deliverables. Each member must be fully committed to contributing to the team’s success and achieving the sprint objectives. This commitment is demonstrated by a willingness to work together, support other team members, and make extra efforts to ensure the project’s success.

scrum methode

What are the 3 main roles in the Scrum model?

The three main roles in the Scrum model are:

Product Owner

The Product Owner is responsible for defining product requirements, modeling the product, and prioritizing the product backlog. They act as the spokesperson for stakeholders and end-users. Their role is to maximize the added value of the product.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is a facilitator who guides the Scrum team in adopting Scrum practices and values. They protect the team from external distractions, remove obstacles, and facilitate Scrum events such as daily meetings. However, they do not have hierarchical authority over the team.

Development Team

The Development Team is a cross-functional team typically consisting of 3 to 9 members with all the skills required to deliver the product increment each sprint. It is a self-organizing team that decides the best way to accomplish the items in the sprint backlog.

These three roles form the Scrum Team, which is collectively responsible for the success of each sprint and the delivery of a functional product increment.

scrum master et product owner

Why is the Scrum methodology used?

The Scrum methodology is used for several key reasons:

Foster Collaboration and Communication

Scrum requires close collaboration among different project stakeholders (development team, product owner, scrum master). Transparency and frequent inspection meetings like daily stand-ups facilitate communication within the team.

Increase Agility and Adaptability

With its iterative approach and short sprints, Scrum allows for easy project redirection based on client feedback and adaptability to changes. The team progresses together and stays ready to adjust the course as the project advances.

Deliver a Functional Product Quickly

The iterative approach of Scrum enables the rapid delivery of a functional product to the client and incorporates feedback at each iteration. This is a significant advantage over traditional waterfall methods.

Improve Quality and Motivation

Scrum is a quality-focused framework, with each sprint aimed at delivering a high-quality increment. Additionally, the empowerment and autonomy of cross-functional teams tend to increase their motivation and performance.

Facilitate Planning and Tracking

With fixed-duration sprints, it is easier to estimate timelines and track project progress. Retrospectives also help identify areas for improvement.

In summary, Scrum is a preferred agile methodology for its ability to deliver quickly while adapting to changes, within a framework that promotes collaboration and quality.

training scrum master

What is the difference between Scrum and Kanban?

Scrum and Kanban are two agile methodologies used for project management, but they differ in several key aspects:

Characteristics of Scrum and Kanban

Scrum:

  • Uses sprints (iterations) of fixed duration, typically 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Defined roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master, development team.
  • Prescriptive process with specific meetings and artifacts.
  • Less flexible for adding new tasks during a sprint.
  • Better suited for projects with stable priorities.

Kanban:

  • Continuous workflow without fixed-duration iterations.
  • No predefined roles, the team collaborates.
  • Flexible process, changes can be made at any time.
  • Visualization of workflow through a Kanban board.
  • Limits work in progress to improve efficiency.
  • More suitable for projects with variable priorities.

Key Differences Between the Two Methodologies

The main difference is that Scrum methode work in sprints with defined roles and processes, while Kanban relies on the visualization and flexibility of the workflow. Scrum is more rigid but allows for better focus, whereas Kanban is more adaptable to changing priorities.

Despite their differences, Scrum and Kanban can be combined, with many Scrum teams using Kanban for workflow visualization.

training product owner

How does a Scrum project proceed?

A Scrum project proceeds iteratively and incrementally, with development cycles called “Sprints.” Here are the main steps:

Project Initialization

  1. Definition of the Product Backlog by the Product Owner, listing the requirements and features to be developed.
  2. Formation of the cross-functional Scrum team, including the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and developers.

Sprint Execution

Each Sprint, with a fixed duration usually between 2 and 4 weeks, follows this cycle:

  1. Sprint Planning: The team selects items from the Backlog to complete during the Sprint and defines the Sprint Goal.
  2. Development: The team works on the Sprint Backlog tasks in a self-organized manner.
  3. Daily Scrum: A 15-minute daily meeting, called the Daily Scrum, synchronizes the team.
  4. Sprint Review: Demonstration of the completed increment to the Product Owner and stakeholders.
  5. Sprint Retrospective: The team analyzes the Sprint for continuous improvement.

Project Finalization

The project ends when the Product Backlog is exhausted or the objectives are met. The final product is the sum of the increments delivered in each Sprint. The key events pacing the Scrum project are Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, the Sprint Review, and the Sprint Retrospective. Constant adaptation is encouraged through frequent inspections and adjustments.

Who uses the Scrum methodology?

The Scrum method is widely used by software development and technology product teams, but it can be applied to various types of complex projects requiring a flexible and iterative approach. Here are some examples of Scrum users:

  • Software Development Teams: Scrum originated in the software industry and remains very popular among Agile teams working on web, mobile, or desktop applications.
  • Hardware Product Development Teams: Many high-tech companies in industries like automotive, aerospace, and electronics use Scrum to develop new complex hardware products.
  • Marketing and Creative Teams: Advertising agencies, design firms, and digital marketing teams adopt Scrum to manage creative projects with many stakeholders.
  • IT Project Management Teams: Teams responsible for deploying new IT infrastructures or migrating systems use Scrum.
  • Research and Development Teams: In pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other advanced industries, Scrum facilitates the management of complex R&D projects.

Though it originated in software development, Scrum is gaining popularity in many other fields due to its flexibility and focus on collaboration and incremental delivery of value.

training scrum master and product owner

What is the most widely used agile methodology?

The most widely used agile methodology is Scrum. Here are the main details based on research results:

Scrum is by far the most utilized, documented, and proven agile methodology today. It is considered almost a standard within agile methods. Scrum defines roles such as Scrum Master and Product Owner, development cycles called sprints, regular meetings (ceremonies), a backlog for listing features to be developed, and practices such as planning poker or scrum boards.

The results highlight that Scrum is simple to understand but difficult to master. It is the most commonly used agile method, particularly for software and IT development, but it also applies to other fields.

In summary, among the various existing agile methods (Kanban, Extreme Programming, etc.), Scrum is clearly identified as the most popular and widespread according to the sources consulted. If you wish to train in the Scrum method, ITTA offers high-quality training to become accomplished agile leaders:

And here you can find all our Agile and Scrum training courses.

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ITTA is the leader in IT training and project management solutions and services in French-speaking Switzerland.

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