I was recently reintroduced to the Scrum methodology by a new IT manager who wanted the team to start integrating related concepts into how projects and changes are performed and rolled out. Having been forced into an older school of thought for several years, I hadn’t thought about Scrum in a while, so I looked up the root of the word again and reminded myself of its relation to the game of rugby. I started to imagine our IT team as a huddle of wet, muddy people completely worn out from the last play, trying to refocus ourselves and plan our next move after a short stretch of chaos. I don’t think "chaos" was the intention behind Scrum; but that’s how I visualized it, most likely due to my own experiences in various IT projects.
What’s interesting is that I was not actually in a project at the time. I was in a period of supporting and maintaining existing systems and processes. However, I did have a few small initiatives going on and decided to see how I could apply Scrum on a smaller scale. I found myself breaking down tasks in a way I hadn’t thought of previously, and scheduling meetings to tackle smaller groups of issues. The meetings were very focused and productive, and I was able to measure my progress more quickly. Better yet, my customers were able to easily understand what I was going to deliver and were happy to participate in the definition of requirements and user testing. The clear and concise steps we took along the way allowed us to release some of the deliverables ahead of schedule and gave us the momentum to keep the process moving along at a healthy pace.
It’s funny how a breath of “fresh" air can realign or change perspective--even if that same air was breathed once before.
“Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing product development. It defines "a flexible, holistic product development strategy where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal," challenges assumptions of the "traditional, sequential approach" to product development, and enables teams to self-organize by encouraging physical co-location or close online collaboration of all team members, as well as daily face-to-face communication among all team members and disciplines in the project.”