What is SCRUM?
SCRUM is an agile project management methodology that helps teams, particularly software teams, manage their product development.
In agile methodologies, leadership encourages teamwork, accountability, and open communication. Business stakeholders and developers come together on a regular basis to align the product with customer needs and company goals.
Agile software development is based on an incremental, iterative approach. Instead of in-depth planning at the beginning of the project, agile methodologies are open to changing requirements over time and encourage constant feedback from the end users. Cross-functional teams work on iterations of a product, this work is organized into a backlog that is prioritized based on business or customer value.
So how does SCRUM fit in with the agile methodology? Think of it this way, if agile is a diet, SCRUM is a recipe to facilitate that diet.
The goal of SCRUM is to take practice of agile development and make it faster, simpler, and more flexible.
Who can benefit?
Despite its roots in the tech world, SCRUM lends itself to any kind of environment.
This includes anything from development teams, marketing agencies, and sales organizations to small businesses with just a few employees.
How does SCRUM work?
Scrum is all about simplicity, which makes it easy to learn. I’ve broken things down into 3 simple parts.
Part 1: Product Owners
SCRUM starts with the “Product Owner” somebody on the team who has the vision for what the final product needs to be. He knows the project or product requirements and makes final decisions on what is included or excluded.
It’s essential that there only be one Product Owner and that their authority goes uncontested. At the end of the day, it is the Product Owner who must take responsibility for the success or the failure of the project.
However, like Uncle Ben told Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility”, and since it’s the Product Owner whose vision will guide the project, the most important job falls on them: making the “Backlog”.
The “Backlog” is a prioritized list of tasks that must be completed, as well as everything that needs to happen to make a project a reality.
Tasks are generally organized as physical or digital ‘cards’ which basically just represent a sticky-note with key information:
In ClickUp, the Board View is the go-to vehicle for day-to-day Scrum, however, sometimes you’ll also need a big-picture perspective.
For ClickUp users, this need is addressed with the Box View – our way of organizing your project into stats and highlights that are easy to consume and highly informative.
Part Two: Sprints
A “Sprint” is a short burst of activity during which a team commits to completing a certain number of backlog items.
For instance, a team may decide that they want to finish the login system for their application (something on their backlog already). They could then put together a sprint, say 7-days starting that day, to attack all tasks (based on the priority given to them by the product manager) involved in completing the login system.
Each Sprint ends with a “Retrospective,” where teams meet to review the last sprint and discuss how to improve on their next sprint.
This is a fabulous opportunity to learn, especially for young teams. By reflecting on what could be done better, specific inefficiencies encountered, and ideas for improvement, teams are able to systematically improve over time.
Instead of having individual employees learn things on their own, information is shared and open communication is used as a tool to uncover new insights.
For all you ClickUp users: We recommend using categories and sections as a way to organize tasks into a Sprint.
Part 3: Daily Scrum
The last key piece of Scrum is the ‘Daily Scrum’, which is a super-fast, daily meeting for teams to get progress updates on everything going on around them.
The Daily Scrum is not used as a problem solving or issue resolution meeting. Issues that are raised are taken offline and usually dealt with by the relevant subgroup immediately following the meeting. During the daily Scrum, each team member answers the following three questions:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What will you do today?
- Are there any impediments in your way?
Returning to the Box View referenced earlier, this management-focused dashboard also includes a feature for ‘Meetings’ which are designed to facilitate smooth Scrum meetings for the entire team.
Where to start:
Why is there such tremendous value to be found using Scrum? Because it takes into account communication issues. It was invented to handle the mess at the intersection of software projects and reality.
So, do you think your team could benefit from Scrum?
If you already have a project management approach you’re used to, I’d recommend one thing: Start small.
You don’t need to radically redesign your workflow tomorrow morning.
However, if you’re just starting out, you have a HUGE opportunity to get things right the first time around.
While there a few tools out there used for Scrum – Trello being the most famous example, we found they all fall short in at least one major area.
That’s why we created ClickUp.
Trello is far too simple for any meaningful workflow. Yes, you can drag tasks from column to column, but you don’t actually have statuses for tasks. And of course, you don’t really have assignees, and the workflows are vastly limited.
Reporting, management, and organization all take a major hit in Trello. Tasks simply get lost.
ClickUp was built out of these frustrations and is designed around Agile methodologies to make you and your team more productive.