Scrum, an agile framework for managing complex projects, is commonly used in software development. According to last year’s State of Agile Report, almost 9 in 10 respondents say they are currently leveraging Scrum.
The Scrum process involves a set of iterative and incremental practices designed to help teams deliver high-quality products and respond to changing requirements. Read on to learn how the Scrum process can drive team productivity.
What is the Scrum process?
The Scrum process (presented in the graphic below) can be broken down into the following key components:
· Product Backlog: The product backlog is a prioritized list of features, enhancements and bug fixes that a team will work on in future sprints. It is maintained by the product owner, who is responsible for ensuring that the backlog is transparent, up to date and reflects stakeholders’ needs.
· Sprint Planning: At the beginning of each sprint, the development team works with the product owner to select a set of product backlog items that they will work on during the sprint. The team also creates a sprint goal, which provides a clear objective for the sprint.
· Sprint: During the sprint, the development team works to complete the selected product backlog items, using a self-organized approach to plan, execute and adapt their work. The scrum master, responsible for facilitating the sprint, removes impediments and ensures the team adheres to Scrum practices.
· Daily Scrum: The daily scrum is a brief, fixed meeting that takes place each day during the sprint. The development team meets to discuss progress, identify issues and plan their work for the coming day.
· Sprint Review: At the end of the sprint, the development team presents their completed work to the stakeholders at a sprint review. The team demonstrates the increment they have developed and receives feedback from the stakeholders.
· Sprint Retrospective: The sprint retrospective is a meeting that takes place after the sprint review, during which the team reflects on the sprint and identifies areas for improvement. The team creates an action plan to address any issues and improve their processes for the next sprint.
Productivity methods in Scrum
Almost every element of a Scrum framework can help teams improve their productivity. Below I will explain how. I have numbered them in the graphic above so you can easily refer to the elements of the process.
1. Backlog refinement (product backlog and Sprint backlog)
Prioritizing tasks is crucial to staying productive and, simply speaking, product backlogs and sprint backlogs are prioritized lists of tasks to be done by the team. A properly prepared backlog provides a clear understanding of a project’s goals and objectives, which can help a team stay focused and motivated. By knowing what needs to be done and in what order, a team can work more efficiently and effectively, without wasting time or resources. Priorities help a team focus on the most important tasks first. This ensures that a team is working on the features that will deliver the most value to the stakeholders, which can help increase customer satisfaction.
In Scrum, a process backlog is a living document that is continually refined throughout a project. This means that a team is always working on the most important and relevant tasks,
and that they are able to adapt to changing circumstances, requirements or feedback. This can help ensure that a team is always working on the right things, which increases efficiency and productivity.
Read also: How to structure a scrum team?
2. Sprint planning
Sprint planning creates a clear plan for the upcoming work period, which helps team members understand their priorities, goals and deadlines. This clarity helps prevent confusion and uncertainty, which improves productivity. Also, focusing on specific tasks helps eliminate distractions and encourages team members to work more efficiently. During planning, a team breaks down large, complex tasks into smaller, more manageable subtasks. By breaking tasks down into smaller subtasks, team members can better estimate the time required to complete each subtask. This can help with better time management by enabling team members to allocate their time more effectively.
Working in sprints is a key component of the Agile project management methodology. A sprint is a fixed period of time, usually 1-4 weeks, during which a team works on a defined set of tasks and team members focus on specific, manageable tasks. This helps to ensure that team members are not overwhelmed by a project’s size and complexity and can concentrate on the most important tasks at hand. This process is designed to eliminate multitasking, which can increase your productivity by reducing the distractions and interruptions that can occur when you switch between tasks (referred to as context switching). An everyday meeting, called a daily, helps team members stay aligned and focused on project goals, while helping to keep the project on track by increasing productivity.
In order to maximize the benefits of a sprint retrospective, it is important for a team to take the meeting seriously, be open and honest with each other and commit to implementing any changes that are identified. By doing so, a team can increase their productivity, work more efficiently and achieve their goals more effectively.
Read also: The three pillars of scrum
Scrum benefits teams and software delivery
Productivity in Scrum is achieved through a combination of iterative development, collaboration and continuous improvement. By working in sprints, team members can focus on specific, manageable tasks, prioritize work and be accountable for their progress. Daily scrums promote communication, identify issues early on and encourage collaboration among team members. Task decomposition and sprint retrospectives facilitate continuous improvement of the team’s workflow. Through these practices, Scrum can help teams achieve higher levels of productivity, resulting in faster delivery of high-quality products.
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About the authorMarek Sysuła
Software Delivery Manager
A Software Delivery Manager with 13 years of experience in IT. In his career he has worked as a software developer, consultant, project manager, team manager. Currently, he manages agile teams that embrace values such as openness, respect, transparency and self-organization. Working with his teams, Marek focuses on motivating and developing people while striving to continuously improve their working environments.