Over the last few years, there has been a paradigm shift on how organizations manage projects. The global market faces increased pressures due to a demand for faster product development from customers, frequent changes in product requirements, and an expectation for development teams to be highly flexible and have cross-functional knowledge. Increased competition, rapid changes in the technological landscape and continued turbulence in business and economic fronts pushed the organizations to look beyond the traditional project management.
Many organizations found their answer in adaptive project management methods. Adaptive management is an iterative decision making process especially useful in rapidly changing and uncertain conditions. Adaptive project management uses a feedback process to reduce uncertainty in the future thereby embracing risk and uncertainty as tools to further understand the environment.
Agile is a group of product and service development techniques using an iterative and incremental approach in which solutions are delivered in stages. Agile promotes adaptive planning to develop a product in iterations, thereby, lending a greater flexibility to change during the development process while also reducing the extent of long-term planning. This minimizes the risk involved with changes in the long-term vision of a project. There are several Agile methods/frameworks developed over time such as Crystal, Scrum, Dynamic System Development Method, Extreme Programming, Kanban, Lean Product Development etc. Among the various frameworks, Scrum is the most matured and widely used framework across industries. About half of all Agile projects use Scrum.
Scrum is easy to implement yet a very effective and powerful framework; a lot because of its philosophies, which are based on the following five governing principles:
1. Empirical process control: There are two ways to control any process—defined process control and empirical process control. Empirical process control is based on transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Scrum uses empirical process control to inspect and adapt, because this approach is more apt for processes that generate unrepeatable and unpredictable outputs.
2. Self-organization: As opposed to the traditional command-and-control style of management, Scrum believes that today’s workers have much more to offer than just their technical expertise and deliver greater value when self-organized. Scrum teams are cross-functional to ensure greater interaction.
3. Collaboration: Scrum believes that product development is a shared value creation process that needs all stakeholders working and interacting together to deliver the greatest value.
4. Prioritization: Delivering the greatest value in the shortest amount of time requires prioritization and dividing what will be done from what needs to be done.
5. Time-boxing: Time is treated as a limiting constraint, and time-boxing is used for all work
To know more about Scrum and how to deliver projects using Scrum, ‘Scrum Body Of Knowledge (SBOKTM Guide)’ is a recommended reading.