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Why Most Software Teams Fail When Using SCRUM? – Agile Nearshore Software Development

project management with iterative or incremental strategy with scrum

New opportunities continue to arise as software transforms the world. Traditional development methods often overlooked value as they emphasized efficiency. Projects can run over budget or beyond the schedule while products fail to respond to evolving market needs. SCRUM framework offers solutions to such challenges.

The SCRUM framework provides an agile solution that possesses in-built checks and balances. Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland introduced the concept in 1995 with an emphasis on team empowerment. Teams leverage SCRUM’s framework to deliver complex agile nearshore software projects and products.

What Is SCRUM? It’s a Framework, Not a Methodology

SCRUM borrows heavily from empiricism. Rather than taking the more favored algorithmic approach, SCRUM uses a heuristic approach. Its system solves complex problems and allows software development teams to address unpredictability. SCRUM’s empirical approach enables teams to deliver more frequently without overlooking value and better outcomes to clients.

SCRUM’s system comprises three key roles that make it tick. The triad of ScrumMaster, product owner, and development team work together to create a functional system for software teams. The ScrumMaster is the service leader in the framework and ensures that everyone understands SCRUM theory. The service leader also needs to elaborate further on the rules and practices of the Scrum framework. The product owner represents clients and other stakeholders. They drive the product backlog, a prioritized list that indicates the work that the team will need for the product.

A self-organized development team does the work during the Sprint that can last between one and four weeks. This team creates a sprint goal based on the project’s backlog and works together to deliver value. Daily review meetings help the team to assess the progress of their SCRUM goal. The sessions also allow the team to resolve any issues as they service any impediments or dependencies.

As development teams work to achieve the sprint goals, their increment grows iteratively, providing opportunities for adaptations based on progress. Software teams can choose to release such increments continually to foster transparency in their operations. Stakeholders usually join the SCRUM team to inspect results after every Sprint. The final sprint retrospective thus enables the team to evaluate their performance and make plans for future tasks. Software engineering teams use a failed waterfall SCRUM methodology.

The Scrum Framework

While SCRUM provides a simplistic framework, software teams often miss the mark during its implementation. The waterfall methodology has been at the heart of software development projects for decades. This methodology usually involves a software management process that keeps tabs on specific development stages. While this concept has dominated software development, it is prone to failure and increases the risks for various software development teams.

The failed waterfall methodology has multiple loopholes that impaired the software development process. Many development projects that have relied on this methodology have failed due to:

Unclear Requirements

Waterfall requirements usually lack priority and can be ambiguous or imprecise. The methodology also failed to factor in changes in conditions that occur during agile nearshore software development. Essentially, waterfall works assuming that set requirements will remain 100% accurate throughout the software development process.

Poor Communication

The waterfall methodology did not create much room for stakeholder engagement and communication among team members. Over time, project development processes experience a lack of trust and clarity as everyone tries to perform their duties the best way they know how to. This methodology downplayed a sense of ownership in the team as the project manager took the lead on most tasks while the rest of the team worked to implement an outlined plan.

Schedules and Budgets

Most software development projects depend on sketchy details and data to create schedules and budgets. These project aspects often evolve as the project needs change. Such changes often arise when project engineers provide their input on various case scenarios. However, the waterfall methodology assumes that the project estimates will remain constant from start to finish, exposing the project management process to unnecessary rigidity. On the other hand, project managers can drag the project planning phase to find the perfect estimates for the project.

Low Customer Value

Waterfall-run projects only provide value to the customer after the final software development phase. With this approach, waterfall fails to keep in mind evolving client needs. Typically, many agile nearshore software development teams only discover that their products are obsolete when they complete the development cycle. On the other hand, project tests come at the end of the project. Any discovered issues at this point will derail deployment and result in overbudgeting. Most businesses skipped the testing phase and ended up with inadequate quality systems that disappointed clients.

Businesses often fall into the trap of transitioning from the waterfall system to SCRUM in the shortest time possible. However, these fundamental changes require time.

How to Take Advantage of SCRUM, A Fundamental Paradigm Change

three developers working during a sprint planning for scrum
Closeup side view of a group of software developers working late at IT office.

SCRUM provides an agile solution that lets businesses deliver high business value in the shortest possible time. Companies can inspect working agile nearshore software repeatedly and optimize solutions to match client needs. While the business decides on the priorities, smaller teams work autonomously to achieve the highest priority features. The result is efficient working software that is open to advancement through multiple sprint options. SCRUM has essential guiding principles, including:

  • Response to change over maintaining the initial plan
  • Working software to supersede comprehensive documentation
  • Contract negation does not overshadow customer collaboration
  • Lastly, giving priority to individuals and interactions over tools and processes

How then can organizations leverage the benefits that SCRUM delivers?

1. Empowering Product Owners

In the SCRUM framework, product owners determine how a development project will adapt to change. They will also assess system priorities and the order of backlogs. Product owners can spend more time engaging with clients and performing market research while the development team works on the product with such responsibilities.

Ultimately, clients will receive a competitive advantage as the product owner learns about evolving market demands and client needs. The product owner can then choose to change existing requirements to adapt to the existing market. Giving product owners sufficient autonomy lets your team make the most of the project development process.

2. Enable Customer Feedback

During product development, it is essential to remember that clients often appreciate their needs once they start using the product. Software development teams can leverage the sprint review process to implement suggestions from clients and other stakeholders. The SCRUM team should allow stakeholders to evaluate the product’s state and share their views on possible additions. Product Owners can incorporate new requirements established from the collaboration into the existing Product Backlog.

Such provisions in the SCRUM framework enable clients to participate actively in the product development process. Organizations can then work to ensure that Sprint Reviews provide accurate feedback that informs changing requirements.

3. Maintain Flexible Sprints

The SCRUM guide allows organization and development teams to specify the length of the sprints, giving an allowance of one month or less. Organizations can then work with this boundary to find a specific time that best serves their particular needs. Sprint duration should be flexible enough to provide the development team sufficient stability to guarantee maximum gain for clients. Ideal sprint lengths should allow for timely feedback and adequate time for the team to add substantial value.

4. Cancel Invalid Sprints

Changing circumstances could make existing Sprint Goals obsolete. Security threats, new regulations, and competitor releases can quickly call for drastic modifications to your plans. The SCRUM framework allows development teams to cancel outdated goals. A Product Owner can then opt to take the escape value and start a new Sprint that aligns to changing circumstances. While the other team members can influence such decisions, only the Product Owner can make that call.

The Product Owner will need to review completed work and re-estimate the Product Backlog items in such circumstances. They will then go on to perform a new planning event that may be costly at times. Product Owners should always make sound judgments depending on the value they can draw from maintaining or re-planning the Sprint.

5. Consistent Implementation

Software engineering teams can also work towards implementing the framework steadily to gain maximum results. Breaking the implementation tasks down into smaller projects will help you ease your team into the new framework. Work on short iterations of functions and perform regular reviews to monitor implementation progress.

Steady SCRUM implementation allows colleagues to appreciate the framework’s concepts and master how it works. This approach also lets you customize the framework to suit your organization’s needs. Thus, a well-informed team develops the necessary skills needed to implement SCRUM in your daily operations.

Leverage the Power of the SCRUM Framework

The old waterfall paradigm held on to the view that changing requirements threaten the successful delivery of new products. SCRUM offers a way out, allowing development teams to evolve their processes in line with evolving client needs and changing circumstances. Although such changes come at a cost, your team can deliver consistent value for your clients.

The SCRUM framework lets you strike a balance between providing stability for your development team and remaining awake to the reality of change. Your team can also accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process. Get better value from your teams and make your clients happy with the efficient SCRUM framework. Contact us for more information.

Rick Wallace

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