Methods for agility

There are various elements of and methods for agility (Scrum, Kanban, Design Thinking, etc.) that can also be combined.

One of the most prominent approaches is Scrum, which is lived in many companies worldwide and thus often changes the entire corporate culture.

Principles of Scrum

The term “Scrum” comes from the rugby sport and describes a formation in which the team moves closely together in a crowd and is therefore very strong on the outside, but extremely flexible on the inside – i.e. agile.

Originally, a method for software development was developed on the basis of this formation. The goal was to create customer-centric solutions with a reduced risk of development errors at a higher development speed. Since then, the Scrum methodology has been transferred to other areas and is now increasingly used as the main method for agile working methods in companies.

The decisive main difference between the classic waterfall method and Scrum is that there is no defined goal including special specifications, but a product vision, which is divided into individual components (requirements), collected centrally (product backlog) and then processed step by step in short time units (sprints).

For this purpose, the requirements are bundled and prioritized in work packages in the product backlog. Before a sprint is started, the Sprint Backlog is filled with work packages (increments) during the sprint planning meeting, which are then processed during the coming iteration (sprint). It is important that the increments are not modified by additional requirements during the sprint so as not to jeopardize completion.

There are 3 different roles in the Scrum process for adhering to this procedure:

  • Scrum Master: Serving manager responsible for the process
  • Product Owner: Represents the technical point of view, is responsible for the product and therefore has a permanent view of the customer.
  • Team: Works self-organized and self-responsible on implementation

The remaining parts of the product backlog can be re-prioritized, adjusted and modified by the product owner in preparation for the subsequent sprint.

The work packages (increments) for a sprint are again broken down into smaller work packages (tasks) and recorded in the sprint backlog with a responsible person from the team and the remaining effort – which is updated daily.

The Scrum Master protects the team from external influences during the sprint so that the team can work on the tasks in a concentrated manner and without external disturbances.

The goal of a sprint is to develop an Increment of Potentially Shippable Functionality, i.e. a completely finished and potentially productive application part.

At the end of the sprint, the team presents the implemented functionality to the product owner (as a voice to the customer) in a so-called sprint review meeting live on the system. Semi-finished parts or presentation slides are prohibited during the review. The direct feedback and the new requirements of the product owner for the upcoming Sprint will then flow back into the next Sprint Planning Meeting. Thus, the customer is closely involved in the development progress and can report back at short intervals whether the solution/product is going in the direction he imagines. Through this so-called iterative approach, the product vision can be approached further and further and possible undesirable developments can be detected and corrected quickly.

So that the team always knows where the other team members are with their work during a sprint, the team synchronizes itself in a daily information meeting strictly limited to a certain time (usually 15 minutes), the Daily Scrum Meeting. Each team member openly communicates what they are currently working on, what comes next and which problems there are or have been, where help is needed or which solutions have been found.

Overview Scrum terminology

  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
  • Product Backlog
  • Sprint Backlog
  • Requirements
  • Sprint
  • Daily Scrum
  • Weekly Scrum
  • Retrospektive
  • Sprint Planning Meeting
  • Sprint Review

The following video explains Scrum in 7 minutes:

Official Scrum Guides:

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