Scrum, both general and flexible, can be used in any application that encompasses multiple parts or projects. Because the Scrum methodology includes meeting constantly changing needs, it is ideal for integration into a company’s processes. Discover how to keep teams and departments working in harmony while solving a common goal more effectively.
Merriam-Webster’s got it right for the most part, but sometimes a
generic definition just won’t cut it. What does teamwork really mean to
those involved? What does it consist of? Who’s responsible for what
tasks? Why is it important for people to come together to accomplish a
common goal rather than just asking people to play to their specific
individual strengths? These are questions no dictionary can answer
because they’re subjective; they depend on elements like the situation,
the team goals, and the personalities, strengths, and weaknesses of
What is the Scrum methodology?
Teamwork and the idea of different parts working together in
harmony to make up a whole are attributes valued by all companies.
Because of that universally held ideology, Scrum was created. Scrum is
a very general, flexible working methodology, with the ability to be
molded and sculpted to fit the needs of different teams, projects, and
deliverable goals. Scrum is loosely definable, adaptable best at an
organization where goals are changing constantly and customers’ needs
greatly influence how the organization distributes tasks. In a
nutshell, the Scrum methodology adapts to the ever-changing needs of
customers and business, and that methodology is yours to do with what
Scrum breaks projects down into chunks called stories,
allowing the development team to tackle each story as an independent
project. The team works on these stories in set time increments, called
sprints. For example, a team may be given a two-week sprint to
work on a specific story, and a one-month sprint to work on the next,
more challenging story. One of the larger stories could be something
like developing a new module for users to quickly find out which
policies tie into which accreditation standard(s). A story with a
smaller sprint could be something very simple, like having to correct a
typo in a field title.
Every team needs a leader, and Scrum is no exception. With the
Scrum methodology, a Product Owner leads the pack, and is responsible
for writing stories and setting priorities. The Product Owner creates
storyboards with more detailed specs on a project. He or she also sets
priorities on what order the team tackles stories in, as well as
assigns specific story tasks to each team member.
Just like in sports, a development team thrives under
encouragement and support. This is where the Scrum Master comes in. The
Scrum Master is the equivalent of a sports-team coach. He or she is
part of the team, but also cheers its members on, helping the team
deliver sprints on time and encouraging everyone to do their very best.
The Scrum Master is also responsible for holding meetings to ensure the
best quality work in the most efficient time bracket.
The Scrum methodology is used for many reasons. As mentioned
previously, Scrum is flexible enough to be implemented within any
organization and adaptable enough to fit any customer base, business
needs, and the personalities, strengths, and project requirements of
any development team. As a result, the Scrum methodology makes a
project completely developer-owned, allowing the team to take complete
ownership and responsibility for all accomplishments and shortcomings.
This alleviates the sense of blending into the background that many
employees may sometimes feel when working as a small fish in a big
pond; with Scrum, this is impossible, because each developer has a
specific task and everyone is working together to accomplish a solid
The Scrum methodology also helps alleviate stress in the
workplace, because it breaks larger projects up into the aforementioned
smaller, more manageable stories. It allows the Product Owner to create
a project backlog easily, and ensures team members are on the same
page. The stories also allow for a large amount of flexibility. For
instance, if a customer has a problem with a specific portion of the
product, team members can easily begin work on a new story that applies
directly to the customer’s issue instead of having to worry about many
aspects of the project at once.
One of the best things about the Scrum methodology is that it
doesn’t apply only to software development – it is flexible and nimble
enough to be used for any kind of task or project. For example, if you
have to clean your house for a holiday party, your different rooms
could be the project’s stories. As the parental figure, you’d be the
product owner, writing and divvying up the different stories. The Scrum
master (perhaps the eldest child) would be there helping with the
current story (i.e. cleaning the kitchen), while at the same time
encouraging his or her younger siblings to complete their sections of
the story sprint on time (i.e. by the end of the afternoon).
The fact that there’s an increasingly popular working
methodology to make it simpler for companies to reach their customers
makes it that much easier to uphold a family atmosphere and ensure
clients are receiving the best quality service possible. Companies grow
and become better because of the Scrum methodology and passing on that
knowledge with others will continue to encourage healthy team
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A former IT Administrator for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in
Brooksville, Fla., he began working as a consultant as the demand began
to present itself. He created custom software and completed database
work for clients. From this first step, it became apparent that if he
merged his knowledge of law-enforcement policies, procedures, and
training with his programming skills, he could develop a simple
solution for law-enforcement supervisors to keep track of their
personnel databases. After eight years, his nationally distributed compliance software solutions continue to meet the needs of public safety, as well as many private-sector organizations. Please visit www.imagineids.com to learn more about IDS’ software offerings.