Scrum was designed to face the challenges of an unpredictable future in software development. Traditional methods of project management hardly allow us be flexible once the development process has started. Often, the delivery at the end of a project is already outdated by the time of its go-live.
"Scrum has two aims: on the one hand, it seeks to faster develop better products, while on the other hand, it intends to make people happy at work. Scrum enables individuals within a team to take responsibility according to their competences. It is a management framework rather than a software development method."
Inspect and adapt
Scrum does not divide the development process, but rather the product itself into singular steps of maximum four weeks that are called “sprints”. These short, iterative development cycles are focused on the product and characterized by phases of reflection and introspection, shared decision-making, implementation of fast feedback by the team, and thus continuous integration of changes in a system that is already being developed. Scrum uses the structure of the Deming Cycle, which was developed by William Edwards Deming and became popular in the field of quality management. The customer is involved in each one of these sprints. Together with him, decisions are taken in terms of which features should be added or eliminated. The outcome of each sprint is a little bit of code that can theoretically already be used by the customer.
Scrum – A question of culture
Scrum often only changes a single team – and ultimately the whole organisation. Whether Scrum will be successful depends on the organisational culture. Scrum is based on the idea that humans can apply their knowledge within cross-functional teams and work towards a goal in a highly self-organized manner. In terms of its implementation, Scrum affects organisations on three levels:
- the management gains transparency, but needs to hand over responsibility and control to the team
- the understanding of leadership changes from exercising power to enabling employees
- the self-perception of employees changes towards taking responsibility for their actions and communicating with each other in a direct manner
"In 2002, my first Scrum team gave the marketing department of the former ONE the best Christmas present ever by delivering a perfect first part of the product and sending them into their Christmas holidays smiling. That was the moment when I came to realize that I had to bring Scrum to other teams and companies as well."