What is Scrum?
Scrum is a project management method, based on planning work in short periods of time: Sprints. During each Sprint the product you're working on has to become fully workable. In this way, the general idea, the process itself and any project offshoots can be reviewed regularly and adjusted as necessary. This approach helps to keep the objectives right and up to date, also - as described by Scrum's co-creator, Jeff Sutherland in "Scrum: The Art
of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time" - it saves people having to do unnecessary work.
What are the rules of Scrum?
Aside from the division into short iterations, Scrum asks for you to split the team into even smaller groups, each including representatives of various specialties.
You're also advised to set a Work in Progress limit for the enitre Sprint. It determines the maximum number of tasks, that can be worked on at any given time.
Another Scrum characteristic is writing Stories: user, customer, owner or programmer stories. They become the leading element behind any action, giving the team
an idea of precisely what's to be achieved, how do all the seemingly separate tasks come together, and what's the desired end result.
What's typical for Scrum is a daily Scrum meeting, during which every team member answers 3 questions: what have they done since previous meeting, what will they be doing today, and what problems are coming their way? Doing this can help to integrate the team, by exposing everyone's impact on the process.
Regular process reviews are natural consequence of Scrum's iterative ways. By assessing how well (or not) things are done, and by asking people's opinion, the group is able to regularly adjust their procedures or assignment patterns. All for the betterment of the workflow in general.
How to use it?
The traditional way of doing Scrum is with the use of a whiteboard, onto which Stories, current and future Sprint tasks are pasted - possibly in a "to do" -> "doing" -> "done" fashion. Daily Scrum meetings are usually held in front of the board - it makes a great focal point. Processed tasks are moved towards the right, through subsequent columns.
But for more and more teams, it's easier to do Scrum via an online software. The idea being, that a team creates a Scrum board in the cloud, and than gives access to it to the involved team members.
How is Scrum software superior to a physical Scrum board?
Even though it's great to hold the Scrum meeting next to a physical board, this is quite likely the sole advantage
of a real-life solution. Switching to a digital, online service instantly makes your team far more flexible and mobile. Suddenly it's not a problem to hire a professional form the other side of the world - they can stay updated on all developments, just as your local team is.
Further benefit of using online software for Scrum is the simplicity of making changes to the board, and of completely reinventing it. Also, for very large teams, physical boards present an issue of visibility and accessibility.
A whiteboard can only be in one place, and more often than not, team members will have to pop out to another room to take a look at it. Now, with a virtual Scrum board, everyone can be viewing it simultaneously, from the comfort of their desks.
The actual moving of the task cards is also simpler in an online application, and information about that very change having taken place is distributed across the team in real time.
A fantastic bonus of using an online Scrum board is the amount of information that a virtual card can take,
in comparison to a physical sticky note, which - furthermore - is not even that editable. From online attachments, due dates, checklists, assignments, dependencies, esitmations, priorities to an unlimited number of comments
- it really can provide a lot of information about the task!
How to get started right away?
The best way to get started is to use Kanban Tool online software. Despite the Kanban name suggestion, the flexibility of the tool allows for complete customization of the workflow, so that it suits your needs, whether you want to do Scrum, Kanban or Scrumban. With Kanban Tool you can design your own process flow, create own Scrum policies, set a WIP limit for any column, and share the project with your whole team. Once it's done, they can take an active part in the process, and remain informed about all changes - as they happen, in real-time.
Kanban Tool is an online visual management service with a wide range of features, trusted by over 25 000 users all over the world. Kanban Tool offers a free trial on all accounts - no credit card number or personal details are required. Register now and try it!