Small and large businesses require teams of professionals to work on the project together. To manage one department, the company needs to find one effective team leader. However, it’s difficult to organise many different departments at the same time. Quite often, the lack of communication among departments leads to project failure. 

The difficulty of managing massive projects was described first in the article The New Product Development Game in 1986 by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. The Professor of Management Practice Hirotaka Takeuchi called large project organisation a rugby approach (Scrum). The authors took case studies from manufacturing firms in the printer, automative, and photocopier industries and described a completely new approach to project management aimed at increasing flexibility and speed. 

In 1995, industry consultant and software developer Ken Schwaber was the first to use scrum technology to organise the work in his company better. In 2001, he and theoretical physicist Mike Beedle described a better version of the Scrum’s approach to managing product development in their book Agile Software Development with Scrum. 

These days, multiple companies are using agile project management to enhance the effectiveness and transparency of their work. Scrum is considered one of the most popular agile development method (framework). 

When should the company use Scrum?

Scrum framework can become a part of the workflow in a lot of companies (not only IT ones). It can help make business more efficient, especially when the different teams work on massive, multi-dimensional projects together. 

It is convenient to use Scrum if the requirements in the project are not clear. For instance, the clients might have a general idea of what they want to get in the end. Not getting a clear definition makes it impossible to estimate the costs and time of the project. Vague general requirements can also lead to misunderstandings among departments. If one department doesn’t get an update, they might keep doing something that is not required. 

Any large project that involves a lot of people needs a flexible and adaptable system. Scrum project management can help keep everyone updated. Rather than trying to make this work through sheer force of will though, it is best to have the right tools for the job. Scrum can fail due to communication challenges. If you have a larger team with a history of communication issues, consider investing in team workflow software that can help facilitate your scrum.

Scrum project management can help a company to prioritize work, promote transparency, and break the project into manageable chunks. A lot of team leaders use the Scrum framework to deliver better results and increase business value by giving the customers the products they want. 

How to implement Scrum?

In order to implement the Scrum method in the project, divide responsibilities among the team. Every project should have the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. 

A Scrum Master is the one who motives other team members to stick to the deadlines and move along, taking into account the basic principals of Scrum project management. 

A Project Owner is responsible for setting up requirements for the project. Basically, it is the person who has the final say in what the business needs. It’s important to mention that the Scrum framework promotes servant leadership, so there is no room for personal ambitions. 

After assigning roles and responsibilities, the departments should come to the table and create the Product Backlog. It is the list that contains the project needs and priorities. The authors of Agile Software Development with Scrum recommend leaving the white space in the Backlog since the project can be modified during the process (adding new tasks is the primary responsibility of the Product Owner). 

When the Product Owner creates the Backlog for the team, the Scrum Master should plan the Sprint. Sprint Planning helps to decide on the deadlines. The Scrum Master should also effectively delegate tasks to other people. 

Later on, the process is pretty straightforward. Team members should start working on their tasks and report about their progress. 

The father of Scrum methodology Ken Schwaber says that it’s necessary to have daily scrum meeting that shouldn’t take longer than twenty minutes. During the meeting, all team members should answer these basic questions:

What did you do yesterday?

What are you planning to do today?

Do you need help with anything at this point?

After every meeting, the Scrum Master should take the completed tasks off the list and add new ones if needed. 

Scrum promotes transparency, so it means that everyone involved in the project should be aware of what other members are working on at the moment. That’s why the Scrum Master should work closely together with the Product Owner. Their task is to organise the Backlog by creating the Scrum Board. The leader can even use a simple whiteboard and sticky notes for this purpose. The Scrum Board should be divided into seven lists:

  • Resources
  • Backlog
  • To-do list
  • Doing list
  • Quality checklist
  • Done list
  • Blocked list (in case the team lacks some resources at the moment)

The bottom line

The Agile project management and Scrum methodology can be easily applied in every company. It can boost the company’s growth by managing product development better and promoting transparency. It can help small and large businesses to work on multi-dimensional projects and enhance their effectiveness. To implement the Scrum framework, the company needs to pick the Product Owner and the Scrum Master in order to keep a project on track. It’s necessary to have a daily Scrum meeting to be aware of progress and weaknesses in the system.