When you have a big and busy business, getting work done by teams can be a little bit chaotic. You need processes and models to help team members know what is going on and how they are succeeding.
One of these models is called Scrum. It sounds like something from Rugby, doesn't it? And this is deliberate. Why is Scrum important to how you lead your team and business? Read on to discover more.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is a teamwork model. It encourages people with different skill sets to work together for a common goal. With all the different talents involved, Scrum is very agile and can change direction as the needs in your business change.
Start small, with a small project. You meet at the beginning of a sprint, a mad dash of work to get things done. Determine roles and goals, sprint and do the work, and then meet up at the end to review the Scrum.
Meetings during the process are called Scrums, as well. Again, this is playing on the terminology of Rugby, a quick-moving, rolling game, which is what an agile process of Scrum is all about.
Why is Scrum important?
Scrum is important as it can allow you to get things done without too much overthinking. Your Scrum Team can focus on one job, get it done brilliantly, recoup, recap, and then set forth onto the new project.
Scrum teams have a leader and are people who are good at organising themselves. When you get a good Scrum team, you’ll be able to reliably hand them projects and know that they’ll be done within a short span of time.
Scrum is important because it brings different people with different skills together to learn from each other and trust each other to get the job done.
Scrum also encourages continuous improvement. You review after each sprint, see what worked, what didn't work, the gaps in skills and knowledge, and how you’re going to fill those gaps.
Who can benefit from Scrum?
Managers that don’t know everything that is going on in their teams can benefit from Scrum. This framework encourages people to learn as they go, adapt to changing situations, and learn to rely on their team to get everyone across the line.
It is a flexible arrangement, with the ability to run short sprints, or longer ones, with more check-ins if needed.
This kind of model also demands good communication. If there are some communication roadblocks in your organisation, Scrum may help crash through them for the good of the company.
How can you implement Scrum?
Are you now interested in trying to implement Scrum for your workplace? Here are some easy steps to follow so you can do just that.
Step 1: define your Scrum team
Scrum teams are small. Fewer team members mean more agility and ability to change direction if needs be. Think 5-9 members. Select from different areas of the business. Don’t select just those people with the best talent, but choose those you think have the potential to benefit and grow from this experience.
You can have team names and such, as this Scrum team will be working together a lot going forward. They will have complete responsibility for deliverables.
Step 2: Define your sprint length
How long will they need to accomplish their goals? Is it one quick sprint of perhaps two weeks? Can you break down a more extensive project into smaller pieces to have these shorter sprints too?
If you have a longer sprint, make sure there are daily meetings or regular meetings to reflect on what has happened and chart what will happen next.
Step 3: Appoint a Scrum master
This will effectively be the team leader, but also the motivator. They run the Scrum meetings, control the pace and tempo of the sprint, and can lead through pivots and changes if required.
They don’t micromanage the Scrum team. They trust that the team will achieve goals in their own way. If needed, the Scrum master will jump in and help their team.
Step 4: Prioritise a list of objectives or backlog
What is the most important step in the sprints? This can be decided by management, but it is usually best left to the Scrum master.
The vocabulary used for this kind of work is Stories. In more common language, these are just fancy names for tasks. The biggest, most important tasks are labeled as Epics. The smaller stories, or tasks, can be labeled as simple ‘tales’.
You can break the Epic Stories down into “chapters” if you’d like, and assign them to team members to complete.
Like that saying says - how do you eat an elephant?
Step 5: Track progress of tasks
It’s good to keep track of the sprint’s progress. This helps you know how much work has been done, how much is left to do, and how well each member of the Scrum is progressing with their tasks and stories.
If you can set up a timeline or a chart showing what needs to be completed, you can calculate a percentage of progress.
If there are different elements, separate stories, you can track them as well. As one nears 100% completion, you can allocate resources to other stories which need completion.
This will educate you on the abilities of your Scrum team, opportunities for education, and if you need more or fewer Scrum members in the future.
Step 6: Set regular meetings with the Scrum team
Regular meetings are essential for the communication element of the Scrum model. This includes:
- Keeping everyone up to date with the progress
- Giving people an indication of anywhere that needs help
- Updating on any change in direction
- Keeping the vibe of the Scrum going
- Show the ‘Sprint Burndown’. This is a chart where it plots time against the Number of Tasks. As you complete them, the chart heads downhill in a very encouraging kind of way.
The scrum method is a high-energy and highly productive way of letting people in your organisation find ownership of tasks and get things done their way. It can make your employees feel like integral parts of the business.
This also lets your team celebrate their victories too. If they can complete a Scrum, switching direction here and there to challenge the ever-changing business landscape, then they need to be lauded for that.
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