Using Scrum in your research
What is less obvious is the use of Scrum in non-software projects, so a few of these examples are cited in the following. My colleague Stacia Viscardi and I used Scrum to manage our book project. Our product backlog consisted of the chapters we wanted to write for The Software Project Manager's Bridge to Agility , in priority order based on client inquiries. For example, because we seemed to get a lot of questions about scope management and very few regarding procurement, the chapter on scope was at the top of the backlog, while the procurement chapter was near the bottom.
We held a release-planning meeting and moved the backlog items onto flip chart pages that represented our sprints, which were one month in length. At the beginning of each sprint, we held a call to talk about the chapters we would be writing, set goals and expectations, and commit.
During the sprint, we checked in with each other several times a week. As we completed chapters in the sprint we would exchange them to get feedback, and then incorporate that feedback into the final copy. Our sprint reviews consisted of a final review of the chapters, and any additional changes ended up in the product backlog to be planned in the next sprint. As it was just the two of us, we rotated roles and responsibilities. For one section of the book, I was dubbed the Product Owner, and I had final feature authority. For other sections, Stacia had this role. Our ScrumMaster was our editor, even though he did not realize it.
He still performed the ScrumMaster responsibilities, however, he reminded us of our deadlines, removed obstacles for us, and gave us the assistance and tools we needed to do our jobs. And it's not just us using Scrum to write books.
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In one example of Scrum use, the Labs team use one-week sprints to execute operational value-add projects for their portfolio companies, perform due diligence, and institutionalize their value-add capabilities. When the Labs team initially implemented Scrum, the increased visibility into projects underway made them realize that several of the projects were actually low-value.
As a result, they cut 30 percent of their projects, which made room for more high-value projects and allowed them to focus on and finish these projects. In fact, this clarity of focus and the limit of the amount of work in progress in a sprint helped the team to become more productive, as projects no longer dragged out over long periods of time because too many were being worked simultaneously.
Arline Sutherland works as an interim pastor for the Unitarian Universalist church. She is also the wife of Jeff Sutherland, one of the co-creators of Scrum. Sutherland described her experiences using Scrum in churches in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Delaware, and Virginia. Projects under various programming areas such as pastoral care, children and youth, membership development, social justice, music, facilities, finances and fund raising were managed using Scrum.
Several adaptations were made in each instance to accommodate the needs of the team members and the constraints of their environment. For example, it was impossible to hold daily in-person stand-ups with more than half the team holding down day jobs. Because this is only a short overview of Scrum, it is expected that the reader may leave with several unanswered questions.
In this section, we will look at the top three questions most often asked by those new to agile and Scrum, then leave you with some final words on where to find more information. Gantt charts are not typically used on Scrum projects.
Burndown charts both sprint burndowns and release burndowns , task boards, backlogs, sprint plans, release plans, and other metrics charts are used instead to communicate progress, status, and forecasts. A variety of agile project management tools exist to provide this type of dashboard reporting, including plug-ins for Microsoft Project. The only artifacts Scrum requires are the product backlog, sprint backlog, release burndown, and sprint burndown.
All other forms of documentation are left up to the team to decide. The agile rule of thumb is that if the artifact adds value and the customer is willing to pay for it, then the artifact should be created.
Documents required for governance issues audits, accounting, etc. The project manager often becomes the ScrumMaster. This is not always the case and there are many different transformation permutations. For example, a project manager who has been serving as a domain or subject matter expert might be better positioned as the Product Owner.
A comprehensive study on state of Scrum development - IEEE Conference Publication
In this scenario the project manager assists the ScrumMasters in coordinating, strategizing, and removing roadblocks. Traditional estimating and planning uses a bottom-up method, where all requirements must be fully defined, with tasks then created and estimated based on this fixed scope. Agile estimating and planning instead uses a top-down method to forecast. Gross level estimating at the feature level is often done using a technique called planning poker, with estimates given in points using the Fibonacci sequence. Teams determine their velocity in points, i. Cost per point is determined by calculating the loaded salaries of the team for period x, then dividing that by the number of points completed in period x.
Once you have your team's average velocity and a gross-estimated product backlog, you can forecast project milestones and completion dates, as well as the cost per point and thus forecast project cost. One paragraph cannot do this topic justice, as entire books have been written on this topic. An excellent book with practical advice on how to do estimating using planning poker and forecasting using velocity and points is Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn. Scrum is an agile project management framework that helps teams to deliver valued products iteratively and incrementally, while continually inspecting and adapting the process.
This was a short overview of Scrum, and as such did not address many additional areas of interest such as product roadmaps, estimating using points, user stories, story maps, and so forth. These agile practices are often used in conjunction with Scrum, as are other methodologies, such as Kanban and XP. Additional resources on these topics are available online, many for free. Cohn, M. Agile estimating and planning. Project Management Institute. Schwaber, K. Agile software development using Scrum.
Scrum for Non-Software Projects. Sutherland, A. Scrum in church: Saving the world one team at a time. Sutherland, J. Organizational transformation with Scrum: How a venture capital group gets twice as much done with half the work. Takeuchi, H. The new new product development game. Harvard Business Review , [Reprint ]. By Sweetman, Roger Conboy, Kieran While agile approaches can be extremely effective at a project level, they can impose significant complexity and a need for adaptiveness at the project portfolio level.
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Agile project management with Scrum. Abstract Scrum is one of the agile methodologies designed to guide teams in the iterative and incremental delivery of a product. What is Scrum? The Scrum Framework Schwaber refers to Scrum as a framework and not a methodology. Exhibit 1. The Original Scrum Framework. Exhibit 3. Volume - Number 2.
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