Scrum was developed to meet the needs of the unpredictability of the future in software development. Classic project management methods do not allow for enough flexibility in the development process. The results at the end of the project are already out of date before they are completed.
“The goal of Scrum is faster and better developed products on the one hand and joy of work on the other. Our interpretation of Scrum is to give back competencies to individuals on a team needed to accept responsibility. It is not a method of software development, but a management framework".
Inspect and adapt
Scrum does not break up the development process, but divides a product up into single steps that last a maximum of four weeks. These steps are called ‘Sprints’. These development cycles are product focused, short, repetitive and characterized by phases of reflection and introspection by the team and by collaborative decision making. Integration through quick feedback accompanied by steady integration of changes to the system are found in the development. Scrum uses the Deming Cycle for this, that William Edwards Deming made popular in the circles of quality management.
In every one of these cycles the customer is also included. Together with the customer decisions are made as to which features should be used or abandoned. At the end of each cycle a piece of code is created that the customer can theoretically implement.
Scrum – a cultural question
Scrum often only changes a team and finally the entire organization. Whether Scrum is successful is highly dependent on the culture of the organization. Because Scrum basically assumes that people will use their knowledge together in cross functioning teams and that to a high degree can work independently towards a goal. Scrum implementation effects then three levels:
- Management gains transparency with Scrum but has to give up responsibility and control.
- The understanding of management must change from one of power to one of an enabling.
- The employees’ self perception must be that they are responsible for their own actions and that they must communicate directly with each other.
"Christmas 2002 my first Scrum team sent the ONE marketing department out the door with beaming faces for Christmas vacation with the perfect delivery of part of a product. That is when I knew that Scrum must also work for other teams and companies".