There are lots of good reasons to use Scrum to become Agile. Here are the some of the most popular:
Using Scrum, new features are developed incrementally in Sprints. At the end of each Sprint a potentially releasable Increment of Software/Product is available. This enables the product to potentially be released much earlier in the Development cycle enabling benefits to be realised earlier than otherwise may have been possible where we waited for the entire Product to be “complete” before a release.
QualityMaintaining quality is a key principle of development with Scrum. Testing occurs every Sprint, enabling regular inspection of the working Product as it develops. This allows the Scrum team early visibility of any quality issues and allows them to make adjustments if necessary.
TransparencyScrum development encourage active Product Owner and Stakeholder involvement throughout the Products development. Transparency is therefore much higher for key stakeholders, both of the projects progress and of the product itself, which in turn helps to ensure that expectations are effectively managed.
RiskSmall incremental Increments of working Software/Product made visible to the Product Owner and Scrum Team through development help to identify any risks early and make it easier to respond to them. The transparency in Scrum development helps to ensure that any necessary decisions can be taken at a suitable time, while it can still make a difference to the outcome. Risks are owned by the Scrum Team and they are regularly reviewed (often as part of the Product Backlog). The risk of a failed project is reduced.
Flexibility / AgilityIn traditional development projects, we write a big specification up front and then tell business owners how expensive it is to change anything, particularly as the project goes on. We resist changes and use a change control committee to keep them to the essential minimum. This approach often fails as it assumes we can know what we want with 100% clarity at the start of a project (which we usually do not) and that no changes will be required that will make the Product more valuable (which is unlikely with the speed of change in many organisations and markets today).
In agile development, change is accepted and expected. Often the time scale is fixed and detailed requirements emerge and evolve as the product is developed. For this to work, it is imperative to have an actively involved Product Owner who understands this concept and makes the necessary trade off decisions, trading existing scope for new where it adds greater value.
Cost ControlThe above approach of fixed timescales and evolving requirements enables a fixed budget. The scope of the product and its features are variable, rather than the cost. As we are developing complete slices of functionality we can measure the real cost of development as it proceeds, which will give us a more accurate view of the cost of future development activities.
Business Engagement/Customer SatisfactionThe active involvement of a Product Owner, the high transparency of the product and progress, and the flexibility to change when change is needed, create much better business engagement and customer satisfaction. This is an important benefit that can create much more positive and enduring working relationships.
A Valuable ProductThe ability for requirements to emerge and evolve, and the ability to embrace change help ensure the Scrum Team build the right Product which delivers the anticipated value to the customer or user.
It is all too common in more traditional projects to deliver a “successful” project in IT terms and find that the Product is not what was expected, needed or hoped for. In agile development, the emphasis is on building the right product that will deliver the desired value and benefits.
Speed To MarketResearch suggests about 80% of all market leaders were first to market. As well as the higher revenue from incremental delivery, agile development supports the practice of early and regular releases.
More EnjoyableThe active involvement, cooperation and collaboration in successful Scrum Teams makes for a more enjoyable place to work. When people enjoy what they do, the quality of their work will be higher and the possibility for innovation will be greater. Happy and motivated people are more efficient, effective and likely to stick around.
The Scrum Master is Simon Kneafsey. Simon is a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org, the home of Scrum run by Scrum co-creator, Ken Schwaber. Simon offers Professional Scrum Certification training courses globally and works with clients to introduce Scrum to their organisations.
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