The implementation of agile methodologies in a company can increase efficiency and productivity when working on the development of a specific project. One of the most famous methodologies used to work is Scrum. Jose Duarte, an eCommerce expert and Scrum Master, explains why it is beneficial for eCommerce businesses.
There are several reasons to implement Scrum in a company, as it can provide a different point of view if it is stuck in already outdated methods for the freneticism that is required today and “multi-tasking.” Explains Duarte, “A company may not be using any method to work and is not aware that it can become much more profitable and decisive by applying the Scrum methodology since they have few barriers to entry and implementation.”
A common link of these methodologies is that we always work through partial deliveries to find an MVP (minimum viable product) of the product as soon as possible and continue working from that point. This allows Scrum leaders to detect any anomaly or problem quickly, providing both the team and the client with information about the need to reinforce or eliminate a key point of the process.
In addition, having the customer acceptance criteria always updated, being a “stakeholder” allows quick decision-making regarding changes in the operation of the process of developing the product or service.
Scrum allows rapid adaptation to changes, whether imposed by an external factor or detected in the development process. It also gives prioritization of tasks, eliminating unnecessary tasks and centralizing efforts on the most important actions.
Agile methodologies are not perfect, though. They also have weaknesses that must be clear so that they do not pose a major problem. They are dependent of project managers since the continuity of meetings, continuous customer feedback, prioritization of objectives, etc. have a high degree of dependence on the internal person responsible for the project.
Scrum is an agile methodology totally focused on project management (that is, it is not advisable to use it for other types of objectives), and whose goal is to obtain good results as soon as possible, while having the ease to adapt to changes (which are usually imposed externally and modify the acceptance requirements).
There are established components of Scrum methodologies. One is the sprint. These are the “chunks of time” or phases in which all the time there is to achieve the goal is divided. Sprints have to always measure the same thing. It is not recommended that they are far apart, so it is recommended that they be about two weeks. Each sprint serves to make an analysis of the status of the project and show it to the Product Owner.
The Product Owner is the only person who relates to the Client. He or she is the one who absorbs the client’s needs, who advises him, and who explains to the team what needs to be done. It is important that you have one or very few projects at the same time. It is also important that you are always in constant communication with the project.
The Scrum Master’s sole and exclusive function is to ensure that the methodology is being worked on correctly. Check that no one is left out, that the sprints are fulfilled, that all the members of the team know what they have to do, that there are no problems outside the project that prevent its good realization, etc.
The Product Backlog is a list of user stories where the product owner has prioritized, filtered and ordered each of them according to the needs of the project and the client’s acceptance requirements.
Lastly, there is the Sprint Backlog. It is composed of the tasks that must be performed in a single sprint.
Normally there are a couple of fairly common problems that appear when you are working for the first time with Scrum, and they can cause confusion or that the methodology is not taking advantage of its full potential.
Not respecting the meetings and the time of the sprints: It is important to give seriousness to the daily “stand up” and meetings related to the project, especially those responsible for them. In addition, sprints must always respect the date and deadline imposed on a regular basis. If it is home for two weeks, it cannot be modified for any reason.
The use of User Stories is not clear. This point is the most ambiguous and can sometimes lead to doubts and be done incorrectly. For these cases, it is important to always be able to consult with the Scrum Master (or if it does not exist, with someone experienced in this methodology).
The Product Owner shouldn’t play the role of the Scrum Master. Asserts Duarte, “It is vital to be clear that the same person cannot play those two roles. The first aims to ensure that the project goes ahead (complying with the acceptance requirements imposed on the client) in the most optimal way possible. On the other hand, the second has as its sole objective that the methodology is being used correctly by all team members.”
In addition, each company can add to this organization extraordinary columns for some added phase, depending on the typology of the project, for example: Blocked tasks, tasks under review or “testing,” etc.