Understanding Scrum and Its Benefits
What is Scrum?
Scrum is a software development framework that is both iterative and Agile. The concept of Agile software development consists of a group of principles required for software development. When these principles are put into practice, they enhance the planning, development, and constant improvement that make the software product flexible to changes. Scrum provides an environment that is holistic; that is, it views it as a whole and not as a collection of parts. It allows teams to organize themselves by promoting physical colocation. It also encourages face-to-face communication and online collaboration, which is an important aspect of development.
An advantage to the Scrum approach is that it takes into account that customers can change their minds about their needs, which might affect product development. However, to address these unpredictable situations, Scrum adopts an empirical approach. The empirical approach emphasizes the improvement of software, the development process, and the management of the software. Thus, Scrum focuses on what the team can do to deliver quickly and respond to the customers’ requests and requirements.
Benefits of Scrum
The Scrum framework offers the following benefits:
Provides a quality framework. The Scrum framework ensures that the project implementing this approach is executed with an aim toward high quality. Scrum involves frequent testing of the product and considers the product owner’s feedback. This allows the team to address problems while the product is still in its development stages.
Ensures customer satisfaction. Scrum Teams focus on customer satisfaction, and they are completely dedicated to proving good quality services. They are always involved with the customers by taking care of the customer requirements, working on making a quick delivery, and accepting the fact that the needs of the customers may change throughout the product life cycle.
Makes quick deliveries. Scrum’s approach ensures that products are delivered to the end customers at least 30–40% faster than by using traditional methods. The quick delivery is attributable to certain factors. In particular, the development of the project is handled by the Scrum Team’s product owner, who is dedicated and responsible for providing real-time clarification and requirements at the right time.
Next, the priorities of the teams are separated and their work is set accordingly. The delivery is not kept on hold until the entire project has been completed. The highest value and high-priority requirements are delivered before the lower-priority requirements.
Cultivates good team spirit. There are many ways in which Scrum enhances team spirit and morale, which is important to increasing work productivity. Scrum Teams are self-organizing, which means that members can be innovative by using their expertise. The acknowledgment of this expertise boosts team morale.
The ScrumMaster keeps external interferences away from the team. This helps the team maintain stability. Moreover, if the product owner shares a peer relationship with team members, the organizational barriers are removed.
Case studies: Intel and Dutch Railways
The following case studies illustrate how each company has gained significant benefits by adopting the Scrum framework.
Intel: Agile project management
At Intel, Scrum was used for project management. Its impact was realized in four important ways: performance to schedule, cycle time, transparency, and morale. Scrum reduced the cycle time to 66%, which was a big achievement. Intel established capacity-based planning and successfully eliminated the risk of missed commitments. The customers’ and management’s systems had changed their work methods to maintain a two-week cadence.
Team morale and spirit increased greatly as the result of adopting Scrum. Moreover, the team with the lowest morale had become the team that provided the best results.
Dutch Railways: Distributed Scrum project
Dutch Railways’ projects have benefited from Scrum in several ways. Scrum helped them execute plans with multiple teams, whereby each Scrum Team worked in a highly effective environment. By applying Scrum principles, the Agile approach was introduced, focusing on close cooperation with the customer, open communication, and working in small increments. They had agreed that, if a particular project did not fit properly into the Scrum sprint, the work was to be managed by another Scrum Team. This distribution of work enabled feature teams to focus solely on software development. The Scrum approach allowed testing to be done at various stages, so flaws were removed and customer requirements were met just in time.
Scrum provides significant benefits to organizations by demanding better quality from the project. It does this by decreasing the time required to deliver the product, enhancing team morale, and increasing customer satisfaction through increased collaboration between teams and team owners.
M. Mulder and M. van Vliet. “Case study: Distributed Scrum Project for Dutch Railways.” InfoQ, August, 12, 2008, https://www.infoq.com/articles/dutch-railway-scrum.
P. Elwer. “Agile Project Development at Intel: A Scrum Odyssey.” Danube.com, 2008, http://danube.com/docs/case_studies/Intel_case_study.pdf.