Thursday, December 16, 2010

Use SCRUM to increase flexibility, efficiency and transparency in the delivery process

In this post I’ll give a short overview on why I think using SCRUM is a good way to increase flexibility, efficiency and transparency in the delivery process.

In SCRUM we work with short, iterative, releases (sprints) where the customer (product owner), at the beginning of the sprint, is allowed to decide what is most important right now and should be included in the next release. Hence "time-to-market" for a typical feature can be reduced to only the length of a sprint, typically 2 to 4 weeks.
SCRUM emphasises the delivery team as responsible for the delivery they have committed to within the sprint. The team is also empowered to make decisions on how to organise the work to achieve maximum efficiency now and in future sprints.
Communication on priorities, requirements and possible designs is short-circuited between the team and the product owner. Hence, additional management and detailed planning is eliminated and feedback cycles are sped up. Everyone involved is contributing directly to the delivery of high-quality code, following the lean principle of "eliminate waste".

SCRUM introduces complete transparency to the delivery process. Expectations for the next sprint is set and agreed between the product owner and the team in the "sprint planning meeting" at the beginning of the sprint. Current status is tracked every day in "daily scrums" where all team members discuss what has been done and what should be done next. Anyone is invited to listen in on "daily scrums".
At the end of the sprint a "sprint demo" is organised where the team demos the features implemented in this sprint. Everyone is invited to the "sprint demo" to see and comment on what has been done and what needs to be done next.

The SCRUM team
A typical SCRUM team consists of 5-8 people including every competency needed to produce a production ready release in every sprint. Competency in the team includes:
- Analysis
- Design
- Implementation
- Test
- Configuration Management
- Scrum Master (responsible for the delivery process)

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