Scrum is a popular, well-respected framework for agile software development. Like all agile frameworks, Scrum is both iterative and incremental in nature. This means that each cycle of product development naturally, logically flows into the next. Though painstaking in some ways, Scrum can save time by eliminating redundant or otherwise irrelevant development activities.
The basic building block of Scrum is the iteration, which is called the sprint in this system. For simplicity’s sake, each sprint takes place in a predetermined, fixed time frame. Generally, sprint durations range from a week to a full month. However, two-week sprints are typical. To start off each sprint, the entire work group assesses the most important work to complete from past sprints, identifies current work and sets specific goals. Upon the completion of each sprint, the whole group meets again for a sprint review. During this phase, completed work is reviewed and summarized for presentation to relevant stakeholders. The group also identifies key lessons learned during the sprint and key areas that stand in need of improvement.
In Scrum, every effort is made to ensure that sprints end with the completion of concrete deliverables. In software projects, for example, concluded sprints ideally complete software testing, documentation and integration. In Scrum, the sprint is far more than a guideline or a movable goal post. Instead, the sprint is intended to be a firm deadline for completion of stated goals. If projects routinely fail to meet their sprint goals, this is a sure sign that the development team needs to set more reasonable goals.
The second major building block of Scrum is the daily scrum, which is also called the stand-up. This daily progress meeting takes place each day at the same precise hour and place. Even if one or more team members is unaccounted for, this meeting must start exactly on time. During this 15-minute meeting, each team member briefly describes their work from the day before and their plans for the shift ahead. Research has demonstrated that maintaining this type of rigid consistency allows people to unleash latent productivity.
Scrum has achieved a lot of recognition and success throughout the developed world. In Australia, organizations like Scrum on Australia provide great resources for people who want to learn all they can about this agile development framework. Without doubt, Scrum will remain highly influential for quite a few years to come.
With its fixed, unchanging deadlines and meeting schedules, Scrum features some degree of regimentation. Because the human brain finds patterns satisfying, consistency reduces the amount of effort that it takes to stay on track. Scrum’s regimented nature is in line with research that has studied the psychology of successful workers. Studies have shown that people who achieve more do not actually push themselves towards goals through brute force or willpower. Instead, high performers establish highly consistent routines. Each time a routine is repeated, it subtly changes brain function until performing required tasks feels almost automatic. Though Scrum encourages specific and firm time management, it certainly doesn’t limit spontaneity or invention when it comes to solving development challenges.
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