How to Manage a Project? Check Out Agile Scrum

Project Management

Any complex project or product development can benefit from Agile techniques. These take a flexible and iterative approach to make projects proceed more efficiently and deliver results faster. The Scrum framework is the leading implementation of Agile techniques in use in businesses. It brings many advantages to projects once team members are effectively trained to follow the same approach, a good example of this would be scrum master training.

Projects proceed through a series of iterations

The key difference introduced by the Scrum framework is an iterative approach to project progression. This is at the heart of Scrum and drives the many benefits the framework brings. The full workload to be completed is split into discrete items, and each project iteration takes on a subset of these.

Each iteration, known as a Sprint, aims to produce a workable or useable result. Planning before the Sprint defines delivery aims and reviews after the Sprint measure the success of this. Teams are fully involved (and have the final say) in what is included in each Sprint, their capacity, and whether results have been successfully achieved.

Teams communicate regularly and efficiently

Communication is vital in any team activity, and this is a priority of Scrum. Teams must follow a specific set of regular communication methods and meetings. Of course, other meetings and discussions can take place. 

Having a minimum baseline defined and followed, though, means that issues are addressed rapidly, and changing requirements can be incorporated. With the alternative of less formalized, ad-hoc meetings and communications, there is a risk of delays in realizing issues exist and incorporating changes to requirements.

Each Sprint is preceded and followed by formalized meetings. These establish the work to be carried out during the Sprint and review the success on its completion. In addition, mandatory daily meetings encourage all team members to regularly think about progress and keep the Sprint on track.

Specific roles are defined as part of each project

Scrum takes a different approach to roles than traditional management techniques. Teams are, to a certain extent, self-managing. The final decisions about capacity and work included in each Sprint rest with team members rather than any level of management.

Key roles are defined, and these are vital to the success of Scrum. The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the project and for liaison with stakeholders. This is very different from a traditional project manager role. A Scrum Master role is also defined. The Scrum Master is involved in training and ensuring the correct delivery and implementation of Scrum, not in day-to-day people or task management.

Effectively training the team

An approach such as Scrum relies on all team members following the same framework and using the same terminology. Everyone involved needs to understand how to appropriately break work tasks up, set up and manage Sprints, and their communication responsibilities.

Training is key to this. Introductory agile training courses can get anyone involved in a Scrum project up to speed – and can also help those who interact with Scrum teams. More advanced training is available for specific projects types and to assist people to learn and develop roles such as Product Owner and Scrum Master. 

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