Agile – The base of Scrum
Agile, and the path to Agility is now becoming a much sought after norm for many businesses across the world. There is a huge demand for understanding, and implementing, Agile based frameworks. Perhaps one of the main reasons why Agile is becoming increasingly popular is because consumer demands are changing radically and people now desire more. And, people are not ready to wait. They want products which offer good value for money, and that too with enhanced features. This has created a need to develop products which are:
Agile proposes to satisfy these requirements without adding on to the product costs.
The basic issue with all Agile frameworks is that they are – frameworks. They offer guidelines on how the Agile process can and should be implemented in a project. For that, it becomes imperative to understand what a framework is, and how it differs from a methodology. Many individuals still feel Agile is a methodology and they could not be more wrong.
Agile methodology misconception
There is still a misconception regarding Agile – some people still tend to refer to Agile as a methodology. This is not true. A methodology offers a set of rules, principles, tools, or practices that can be used to conduct processes and achieve certain goals. A framework, on the other hand, is a loose structure that leaves enough room for other tools and practices to be included and only provides the process required. In simple terms, a methodology is like a doctor’s prescription – you have to “take” it as per instructions provided, while a framework is like trying out home remedies – you know what can be done to achieve a particular objective, but it is up to you how to implement the remedy, and when to implement it. An Agile framework has to be implemented in a project to be successful, and there are no specific rules about how to do it. You have to follow certain guidelines and configure your project to function as per the rules specified in the framework. This is very much the case with Agile. Agile is a framework.
Agile Scrum salient features
Of all Agile frameworks, Scrum and Extreme Programming “XP” are the most popular. Even though the Scrum framework is more generally used for developing software projects, it can also be used for developing non-IT projects. Scrum constitutes a collection of ideas and rules pertaining to effective project management. The framework supports collaboration and self-organization. The team members work jointly and develop the project. They collaborate and share their ideas and findings. Scrum teams self-manage their activities. The most important aspect of Scrum is that all activities are time boxed. The client receives working versions of the product features on a continuing basis through product incremental cycles – sprints – at regular intervals ranging from a week up to a maximum of one month. Cycles keep on repeating until all product features are developed and the product is ready.
A unique aspect about Scrum is that the framework has a capability of adapting itself to changing market conditions, and incorporates those changes in the product development cycle even late during the development process. The Scrum process focuses on responding quickly and efficiently to changing environments and assimilating those changes in the product design. The client benefits through the development of a product that is in tune with the most recent market demands. Moreover, participation from the end users and incorporating their suggestions while developing the product features further ensures that the product developed is most likely to assume a high business value or worth.
- Scrum – an agile process – focuses upon delivering high business values to the client in the shortest time possible.
- It supports rapid and repeated inspection of the actual working software.
- The product is developed in stages through the product incremental cycles known as sprints.
- The client benefits from shippable product release at the end of the incremental cycle.
- Frequent and consistent product increments should be delivered to the client.
- The client and the business set the priority.
- The working process responds quickly and efficiently to the changes occurring in the market conditions, and by incorporating those changes into the product features in the least time possible.
- Scrum teams self-organize and self-manage to determine the most efficient and quick way of delivering high priority features.
Scrum functions as per certain rules or principles which are very important for its efficient working:
- Individuals and interactions over Process and tools
- Working software over Comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation
- Responding to change over Following a plan