Agile and Scrum

By John McDonald

There is an argument, and an effective one, that all projects should be broken down into smaller 1 – 4 week mini-projects and executed through a technique called Scrum resulting in high quality projects developed by in-communication IT teams. This is known as Agile Software Development.

By breaking a project down into one to four-week mini projects, ignoring the corporate hierarchy and downloading the responsibility for tasks and how they executed to the team members you encourage people to organize themselves, plan tasks and execute daily. Holding loosely organized stand-up daily meetings, called Scrums, help to keep everyone working together and enable the process.

Scrum immediately addresses and solves the project management problem of lack of communication between project team-members, managers and sponsors. It also helps to give contextual, multi-dimensional, background technical information for all members of the team, alleviates over planning, encourages responsiveness and reduces big traditional documentation phases.

The Rules of Stand Up

  • The first rule of Stand Up is, you do not talk while someone else is talking.
  • The second rule of Stand Up is, you DO NOT talk while someone else is talking.
  • You talk fast and you keep it moving fast.
  • Tell us what you did yesterday.
  • Tell us what you FAILED to do yesterday.
  • Tell us what you will do today.
  • Tell us who is BLOCKING you today.
  • If this is your first day at Stand Up, you have to talk.

While the benefits of this model are known it is not without controversy. Problem such as elevated team member stress levels; not everyone is cut out for this type of team. Leaders known as Scrum masters are required and they must be strong. The short, stand up meeting at the beginning of the day can be a real de-motivator or degrade into detail and the Scrum Master needs to keep it on track. Some think that Agile/Scrum actually reduces responsibility by letting people move things that are tough into the backlog while grabbing easier to do tasks. Traditional project management methods like waterfall rely heavily on business process for successful projects while Agile/Scrum doesn’t, potentially affecting other parts of the business and the quality of the work.

Tips for Scrum Stand-up

  • Meet daily at the same time
  • All members of the team stand, including those that are on video conference
  • Everyone contributes the following:
    • What did they do yesterday
    • What are they doing today
    • Are there any roadblocks
    • The Scrum Master has a number of responsibilities:
      • Assembling the tasks for the project
      • Protects the team from over committing itself
      • Protects the team from complacency
      • Protects the team from overly ambitions product managers
      • Ensures that everyone contributes
      • Manage meeting – keep everyone on task, focused, and out of the details.
      • Update the project
      • Escalates backlogged items

John McDonald is a veteran in ERP Deployment projects with over 20 years experience in ERP and Project Management. He is the director of sales at Entry Software. Follow Entry Software on Twitter.

Article source: http://www.pmhut.com/agile-and-scrum-executing-and-managing-projects

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