SCRUM in a Pill

From this article you get to know what SCRUM is all about and how you can apply it to non-IT project management.

We will also have a look at some of the benefits of using this methodology and how to start applying it in your organization. Whether you are a manager or a business owner, read to the end to find out how SCRUM can help you succeed!

What is SCRUM?

It is an operating methodology that has a defined structure and form. In its assumptions, SCRUM is focused on self-organization, team collaboration and empirical verification of the process. Most importantly, SCRUM should deliver working solutions.
There are 3 key roles within the SCRUM team:
    • Product Owner (PO) - this is a one-person role. The PO represents the customer or a group of consumers. All key decisions must be approved by the person on this position and the choices cannot be questioned.
    • SCRUM Master (SM) - a person who understands how the entire process works. Person on this position is responsible for removing any obstacles that prevent the Sprint goal from being met. They adjusts SCRUM in order for tasks to be carried out as optimally as possible.
    • Development Team - Self-organized team, usually consisting from 3 to 9 people.
But let's start from the beginning.

Structure of meetings in SCRUM

Once expectations and business requirements are established and the team is selected, a meeting is held to plan the Sprint. Sprint is the period in which the given assumptions are to be realized. This meeting can last up to 8h, assuming that the Sprint will last 4 weeks - here the tasks to be performed (Sprint Backlog) and the time for their execution is estimated in order to achieve the goal that was set for the team.
The sprint itself can last from 1 to 8 weeks, depending on the complexity of the goal to be achieved.
During the sprint, daily short meetings at the beginning of each day are held - they last up to 15 minutes and are attended by all team members. Everyone answers three questions:
    • What have you done since the last meeting?
    • What will you do until the next meeting?
    • What obstacles have you encountered?
Decisions are made collectively, on the fly. The SCRUM Master is responsible for removing obstacles that team members encounter. A set of tasks to be completed called the Sprint Backlog is constantly updated and available to the entire team. SCRUM treats changes as something natural, and the daily verification of the pace allows to react to them quickly - just by means of daily meetings (Daily Stand Up / Daily SCRUM).
At the end of the Sprint, there is a Sprint Review Meeting, where the team presents the result to the Product Owner, and the Product Owner accepts or rejects the finished solution based on the previously adopted criteria.
After the Sprint is completed and evaluated, there is a Retrospect Sprint Meeting. This is a meeting to look at what happened and how it happened. Mainly to verify what elements need improvement. The Retrospect should touch on various aspects: from people and relationships in the team, through processes and up to the tools.

What advantages can SCRUM bring to companies?

SCRUM is a flexible and scalable project management framework that can be adapted to many different types of projects – even though it has defined and clear rules in itself. This methodology helps to better understand and improve the organization of processes by including everyone involved, as well as to monitor them more easily. The benefits of using SCRUM include:
    • Increase team productivity;
    • Improved communication within the project group;
    • Improved quality of the outcomes (products);
    • Faster completion of projects;
    • Flexibility and scalability.

Benefits of SCRUM for non-IT companies

SCRUM can be used in any industry because it is a universal framework. Many companies outside of the IT industry are beginning to see the benefits of using this methodology. It allows organizations to achieve better productivity - this is due to the daily tracking of progress (during Daily Stand Up / Daily SCRUM).
Daily monitoring of the group's progress and plans for the day makes it quicker and easier to find errors and gain additional insights into the ongoing project.
By working regularly on a daily basis, iterations are much faster, so that the results also appear faster. There is no room left for procrastination here. This means that SCRUM can be adapted to many different types of projects.
The methodology itself enforces better communication, predictability in terms of what the daily meeting will look like, and certainty about what exactly will be settled at the end of a given sprint. SCRUM can be used in retail outlets working on weekly or monthly plans. Scrum will also work well for service points along with additional industry-specific metrics. It is also a good solution, for teams that work with NPS indicators.
For all non-IT applications, the business requirements are predetermined by the company: a given number of products or services sold, orders completed within a certain period of time, NPS rate at an expected level, or others.

Implementing SCRUM in a company that is not used to it. What to take into consideration

Non-IT companies that want to implement SCRUM should pay attention to several important aspects.
The first and most important is that all team members must be aware of and involved in the process. Even if all employees are involved in the process, it may be difficult or even impossible to implement this methodology in the company without proper management support.
Therefore, the second important aspect is for management to be involved and supportive of the SCRUM implementation process. Clear and explicit message allows employees at all levels to effectively implement SCRUM in their daily work.
It is good practice to assign a Product Owner to a task, who will lead the project and answer directly to the board. In this way, some of the decision-making will rest with the PO, and the SCRUM Team shortens the decision path by increasing the pace of work.

SCRUM vs. other project management systems. What are their advantages and disadvantages?

Scrum is flexible and scalable, which means it can be adapted to many different types of projects.
This is especially important for non-IT companies, as they may have different types of projects and need a consistent but flexible management method that can be customized.
Other popular project management systems such as Prince2 or PMI are less flexible and more complex to use on a daily basis.
Another benefit is the simplicity of the form. The fundamental principles of SCRUM can be assimilated in a short time and in a relatively simple way - a short meeting with the team is enough.
Therefore, many non-IT companies are choosing to use SCRUM. It is the most suitable methodology for their diverse needs consuming relatively small amount of organizational resources in implementation.

The most common problem with SCRUM and how to solve it

One of the most common problem that can be encountered when implementing SCRUM in a company is the lack of commitment on the part of employees.
In this case, start by re-educating employees about what SCRUM is all about and the benefits it can bring to the organization. Then, provide employees with the proper support to use this methodology.
Management should be involved in the implementation of the methodology and help employees accept it. Active promotion of the method is the most effective among companies that want to conduct non-IT projects in this way.

Summary

If you are not convinced by the SCRUM approach or are having difficulty implementing it in your company, I hope this post has given you a better understanding of what SCRUM is all about and the benefits it can bring to your company. It's a powerful tool that, if used correctly, can help increase productivity, improve communication and cooperation among team members, and boost morale. We want companies to succeed, and we believe that our product can play a significant role in helping companies to successfully implement SCRUM methodology.
If you'd like to learn more about how Fortask can help you implement SCRUM or just want to talk to one of our experts about how to use the app, don't wait any longer - book a free consultation.


Łukasz Fiszer
July 18, 2023

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