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Scrum framework for managing projects

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Glee Trees team attended the “Scrum Master” course at Institute of System Science at NUS (National University of Singapore) on 4- 6 October. Scrum is a framework for managing projects, usually in developing computer software, and is part of “Agile” movement.

Scrum also subscribes to the Agile software manifesto:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan

In Agile framework, the items on the left are valued more than those on the right, although those on the right are also necessary in the development process.

I think Scrum is applicable in managing all types of projects, not just in software development. Scrum’s is especially useful in managing complex projects, because it demands complex tasks to be broken down into simple “product backlog items”, which are prioritized and completed during specified time frames.

According to Scrum methodology website, Scrum’s early advocates were inspired by empirical inspect and adapt feedback loops to cope with complexity and risk. Scrum emphasizes decision making from real-world results rather than speculation.

Time spent on project is broken down into short chunks, known as “sprints”, which typically last one to two weeks. Tasks are planned for each sprint, and a review is done after each sprint to reflect on the achievements during that sprint and plan for the next sprint.

Mountain Goat software website sums up Scrum teams as “self-organizing and cross-functional”. There is no overall team leader who decides which person will do which task or how a problem will be solved. Those are issues that are decided by the team as a whole. And in Scrum, a team is cross functional, meaning everyone is needed to take a feature from idea to implementation.

(The image for this article is obtained from Wikimedia Commons)

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