Scrum as a Service is an approach to software development that comes with quite an extensive array of benefits: flexibility, scalability, reliability, cutting-edge expertise and an almost uncanny ability to innovate.
But it is often quite hard for the innocent outsider to accurately identify the actual processes that make Scrum teams apt at delivering high-quality software on a consistent basis.
As a result, we’ve decided to peel back the curtains to show you exactly how Scrum teams live up to such high standards of quality and reliability. There are three aspects that we’ll be talking about, three key aspects that make Scrum teams quintessentially successful at software development. They are as follows:
- Meticulous Planning
- Flawless Execution
- A Client-First Approach to Software Development
1. Meticulous Planning
The seamless accommodation of change is one of the foundational philosophies of the Scrum development process. Scrum teams plan aptly and extensively in order to ensure the continuous delivery of working software.
A solid planning cycle is the backbone for the entire Scrum development process. It helps Scrum team members refocus on the essentials and also helps them make certain that their efforts are being channeled in the right direction.
To get a better idea of the depth and efficiency of the planning that goes into the process, let’s take a look at some of the key planning sessions that take place during typical innovative development projects:
Sprint Planning Sessions
Sprint planning sessions occur before the start of every sprint. They help team members identify and assess the overall direction of each individual sprint.
During these planning sessions, the client, the Scrum Master and the Scrum team get together and decide what needs to be delivered in the sprint. The client/Product Owner identifies some of the key user stories which will then be implemented by the Scrum team during the sprint.
Daily Scrum Meetings
Daily Scrum meetings occur every morning during a sprint and serve a crucial role in the development process. During these meetings, each team member updates the team on the tasks that (s)he performed the day before. Team members also share information about any obstacles they encountered during their work which might need more attention. They then sign up for tasks that they are going to work on after the meeting.
These meetings allow Scrum teams to stay on track and make sure that everyone is on the same page all throughout the development process.
Sprint Reviews and Retrospectives
These meetings are conducted at the end of each sprint. During a sprint review meeting, Scrum teams give a live demonstration of what they worked on during the sprint to the client/Product Owner. The client then provides essential feedback which helps the team members identify and correct their approach appropriately.
Sprint retrospectives, on the other hand, help a Scrum team identify and get rid of any hindrances in the development process. By consistently discarding what’s not working in the development activities, Scrum teams significantly accelerate the development process.
Also, bear in mind that Scrum teams only commit to work when they are undeniably sure about their ability to deliver high-quality software in each given time period.
2. Flawless Execution
Planning is an essential part of the Scrum development process, but the real work gets done only during the execution of these plans. So let’s take a look at how Scrum teams ensure the flawless execution of their plans.
Increased Commitment Through Self-Organizing Teams
High performing Scrum teams have an unconventional yet highly effective approach to tackling projects. Tasks that need to be executed are never assigned by a specific team leader. Instead, team members select their own tasks and commit to completing them.
This ends up being beneficial in two ways. Firstly, by assuming additional responsibility, team members commit to delivering top-notch work at a steady pace. Secondly, and more importantly, this fosters an increased level of teamwork which in turn accelerates the development process.
The Incredible Journey to “Done”
Let me ask you a question… When exactly can you qualify something as “Done”?
Sounds almost like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?
Well, not really.
You see, exceptional measures need to be taken to ensure the delivery of high-quality software. In order to maintain a stable velocity, Scrum teams are very keen on having an accurate definition of what it means to be “Done”.
Here’s a list of steps that each individual user story needs to go through for it to be qualified as “Done”:
The user story first must go through in initial phase of approval. In this step, the client, along with the Scrum team assesses and approves the user story’s role and importance in the overall project.
It is only after approval that the user story is moved to the Backlog. It then gets assigned to a release (series of sprints) or a sprint.
Scrum teams strenuously analyze the user story and make sure that it is clear, concise and understood by all team members. Team members estimate the size, complexity, and importance of the user story and deem it – only after approval – ready for development.
It is only after a vigorous initial analysis that a Scrum team begins the actual development process. During development, Scrum teams make sure that the code for the user story is clean, complete, peer reviewed, unit tested, merged and deployed in a test environment.
The code for the user story then passes a series of tests that make sure that it is fully functional and error-free.
The user story then goes through a final filter in which the Product Owner analyzes and makes sure that everything is the way (s)he wants it to be.
And it is only after all these steps that a user story is tagged “Done”. This level of rigor is what allows Scrum teams to deliver software of superior quality and also maintain a very stable team velocity which drives them securely towards the development of a successful product.
3. A Client-First Approach
Scrum as a Service model is the authority and control that it places in the hands of its clients. Client involvement is one of the key factors that influences a Scrum team’s efficiency.
A client/Product Owner not only provides the Scrum team with valuable feedback that enables team members to correct their approach consistently but (s)he also controls the overall direction of each sprint.
A Scrum team’s customer-first approach is something that often goes unnoticed. But in reality, it’s the hidden X factor that governs the entire framework of the project.
Client satisfaction is of utmost importance to Scrum teams. By treating the client’s business like their own business, and by making the client’s problems their own problems, Scrum teams make it a point to abide by the highest standards of quality and performance.