The word scrum probably evokes images of a rough rugby match, but what it should also conjure up is the workings of well-organized and extremely cooperative team within a workplace. The scrum I am talking about is a management framework for product development. At Pixafy, scrum has been applied with encouraging results in regards to product quality, communication and overall project efficiency. Scrum, as a management framework, implements the use of cross-functional, self-organizing teams of about seven people that each focus on intense collaboration and internal testing. Within this concept of Scrum, each member of every team has a specific role, there are fixed meetings, guidelines, and development iterations (Sprints) where tested products are created.
Hearing this, one might go as far as to say that the intense collaborative meetings between this team could be compared to a rugby scrum, from which this management technique got its name. However, our scrum is a management tool that incorporates knowledge creation and a ton of teamwork, which in the end yields a quality product for stakeholder review. The scrum’s constant communication and validation is what is vital in any business because it provides the business a sustained, high level of quality.
Now, what sets this bar for quality is the teamwork of the group. More often than not, business owners like to see finished products, something tangible that they can test; however, they also want this product to function as properly as possible. Scrum offers a functional middle ground between these two approaches. Through planning meetings, a rough schedule and task order is put forward, and this often ensures a finished product at the end of the Sprint, or iteration. Review meetings after every Sprint are also very crucial in this process because they allow for improvements in any area of the development process. It is in these two meetings, the planning and review, where business owners can lay groundwork for the future and see to the making of a quality product within a specified timeframe.
As mentioned before, quality is often compromised for the sake of speed. Scrum, on the other hand does not implement a best-fit mindset, essentially throwing speed out the window. Yes there are iterations and deadlines to meet, but even with these in place, quality is never compromised. If for instance there is a component of the product that needs to be added but there is not enough time, a scrum team will not rush to put together a low-quality addition. The addition in this example would be pushed to the next iteration, where the proper attention can be paid to it.
As a business owner, it is only normal for you to want to know what is going on in the development process. Scrum accounts for this with the constant feedback loops incorporated into the system and group prioritization of tasks, making the process everyone’s concern, including the business owner’s. Moreover, communication via the leadership roles in the Scrum teams allows for greater transparency and more efficient problem solving methods, both of which are advantageous for the business.
Needless to say, the implementation of Scrum can be a painful process at first due to the stranglehold that traditional, inefficient approaches have on most companies. However, with our recent implementation of Scrum, Pixafy has seen not only a boost in product quality, but also a leaner development process and improved communication both within and outside the team. Hence, it can be said that Scrum is a tool that business owners should look to implement as a facilitator of quality-orientated, yet lean, project management.