Understanding Agile, Scrum and The Buzz Around It

Unravel the buzz around Agile and Scrum. Discover how adopting an Agile mindset redefines work approaches, while Scrum, a practical framework, empowers teams to deliver incremental value systematically.

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Scrum and Agile have become buzz words that create excitement and debate amongst project managers, software developers, and the business community. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably and cause confusion.

To determine whether Scrum is a good idea for your software project, you need to understand what these terms actually mean and the benefits they can bring if you apply them to your project.

What is Agile?

Agile is a mindset that helps you think differently about the way you work.

Widely used project management techniques and tools such as waterfall and Gantt charts were designed in the industrialization era, where projects were fixed and output was constant and predictable.

It entailed creating complex plans and optimizing processes to deliver the determined output. Managers would ensure that workers did the right thing and delivered according to schedule.

The business environment has changed. Right now, we deal with complex problems that require innovative solutions. Organizations need to work together to leverage different expertise to rapidly create, prototype, and test these novel solutions.

They need to be willing to fail, fast-forward and learn by doing work towards finding product-market fit. This needed mentality is adopted in the Agile mindset.

The Agile Manifesto states 4 values and 12 principles that help individuals adopt an Agile Mindset.

In a nutshell, the mindset incentivizes teams to become people-centric and collaborative both when ideating the solution and building the product. This means that people who work this way prioritize constant communication within the team and with the end-users. Innovating in complex environments inevitably brings on change, so agile people expect and respond to change as it happens.

Lastly, the mindset also encourages teams to focus on releasing working software that prioritizes adding value continuously at a steady pace. While Agile gives you a way to look at work, it does not tell you how to tackle projects using this new mentality.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework that helps you put your agile mindset into action as you tackle a project.

Scrum is a repetitive iterative process that focuses on delivering constant incremental value through working software every two weeks.  To find out more about the scrum process, you can watch this brief overview of the framework.

Why is SCRUM valuable?

When a team adopts an agile mindset, it’s important that they follow a practical guideline to ensure efforts bring the desired benefits. Scrum has a very short and simple methodology that is easy to learn and can be used across industries. It relies on collaboration, creativity, and autonomy, which increases team motivation.

The Scrum Team

Changing the mindset and habits of a team takes time, and doing it under business pressure is difficult. Scrum framework acknowledges this and has a dedicated role called the Scrum Master. This person is a servant leader who facilitates and coaches the team through the scrum processes and removes potential barriers for the team.

The design and nature of Scrum make it easy to learn and to use. Therefore, novice teams are more likely to successfully adopt this framework and reap the benefits.

Using Scrum To Build an MVP

The framework creates an organized system through a fixed process that encourages real MVP development, enabling teams to focus on high-priority value-adding features first.

The practice of breaking down projects into user stories forces the product owner to prioritize the biggest pain point of the target market. On the other hand, the two-week commitment from the teams ensures efforts are used to deliver the most simple working software.

This focused, and continuous product delivery ensures that Minimum Viable Products are efficiently built and significantly decreases the time to market of these solutions.

Scrum teams constantly test MVPs. This enables teams to test their assumptions and their work early on and to learn by Failing Fast Forward. They can quickly adapt the solution to real-time market changes and feedback from customers. This helps innovative organizations find product-market fit faster.

The Buzz Around It

As you can see, Agile is a change in paradigm. It is a global movement that started in software development but is rapidly expanding across industries.

It helps us observe and understand the modern complex business world, and it gives us a mental model to think about tackling modern work.

On the other hand, Scrum is the most well-known simple and actionable framework that allows us to work with this new mindset and gain many of the benefits of Agile.

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