Scrum project management might sound like a strange term, as there is no formal definition of the role of a project manager in Agile approaches. However, Scrum is often considered an agile project management framework. Being able to effectively manage Scrum projects is a growing skill area for people in a variety of roles.
As organizations grow, they sometimes adopt a ‘Scrum of Scrums’ model which needs some oversight and coordination, however that is achieved in the business. There are lots of different ways to succeed in a Scrum environment, whether you have a formal project management role or not. For example, lean scrum project management is one of the possible ‘flavors’ of Scrum you may come across in your career.
In this Scrum project management guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about the scrum project management framework. The selection of curated podcast episodes below provides an introduction to the world of Agile Scrum project management and the skills you need to successfully lead Agile teams regardless of your job title.
Listen now to this featured podcast about Scrum project management and other agile methods.
So how did Scrum come about?
Scrum was originally developed as a way to build software products, and is frequently used by software development teams. However, it’s growing in popularity for other industries as well due to the benefits and streamlined approach to project delivery.
Scrum is one of a collection of agile practices including XP, Lean and Kanban.
This is how scrum project management works: The goal of Scrum is to deliver projects by releasing incremental improvements, features or functionality on an iterative basis. Scrum teams often work on 2 to 4 week cycles so there’s a regular pattern to delivery.
A common question is: ‘Is Scrum a project management methodology’ and the answer is: No. You can deliver projects using Scrum but it’s a framework, not a methodology.
Scrum project management techniques like the daily stand up are explained below, so let's get started!
There are lots of Scrum project management benefits. Here are some of the most common that we see across the majority of teams adopting a Scrum project management process.
The great thing about a Scrum project team is that all the information required to do the work is easily available. There’s transparency across the team, and because delivery is a collaborative effort, everyone knows what is going on. That makes it easy for the team to adapt to the current situation, whatever that might be.
Scrum is a framework. Instead of having to follow a process or series of steps because that is what the project schedule mandates, you can flex to meet the most pressing priorities. This might mean bringing forward requirements that are urgent, building quality into the delivery and making sure progress is being taken in the direction the stakeholders expect. All these things can be achieved with low levels of friction and conflict because the approach allows for flexibility.
As a team, you can quickly inspect the output to ensure it meets quality criteria, and make changes if you feel the product is falling short. You get fast feedback on product features, and customers are closely involved in the work so you know you are delivering something that they will benefit from.
A Scrum checklist can be useful to help you get started with Scrum. Henrik Kniberg’s checklist is comprehensive and commonly used, but there are others.
You can use a Scrum Checklist during the retrospective to review the work of the team and ensure you are hitting the main important aspects of the Scrum framework.
However, checklists should only be used as a guide. They are a way of learning from other teams and sharing good practice, but always remember to apply your own situation to any checklist and take from it what might be useful to your own environment.
Get started with Scrum project management by bringing the team together and adopting Scrum approaches to doing the work. With the support of a Scrum Master, and a focus on project delivery, you can adopt this tried-and-tested way of working. Check out the podcasts and resources on this page as a starting point, or to delve into advanced agile topics.
I believe that most people who become Agile certified and study the methodologies understand that Agile is the best approach for knowledge-based work –- work that’s complex, fast-moving, and volatile. This is the kind of work that really dominates our age now: the information age. I think Agile offers superior project management approaches to do that type of work.
Scrum project management is a reliable and exciting way to work. You’ll see constant deliveries and benefit from the visual approach to managing projects that Scrum teams use: whiteboards and sticky notes (physical or digital) will soon become the way you share status and manage progress!
Scrum is one of several Agile methodologies that help you work closely with the customer to make rapid improvements. You’ll know your Scrum projects are having a real business impact because you’ll see the proof in the results and in stakeholder satisfaction.