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Agile for everything that's not software - Part2

Scrum in a nutshell

Welcome to the 2nd part of the Agile for Everything that's not Software series. If this is the first time you have heard about it, it doesn't matter. You can take a peek at the first part here. In this blog, we will try to explain what "Agile" means and the different ways of being agile.

Agile is a methodology of developing any new product or initiative, under which requirements evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross functional teams, customers and end users..It encourages efficient, rapid and flexible response to change. The two methodologies that are most widely used are "Scrum" for rolling out new initiatives and "kanban" for maintaining and managing the products and initiatives.

In our series, we are going to look at developing and rolling out new initiative and products, so we will only use Scrum.

So then, what is Scrum? Scrum is a set of rules that are used to develop new products or roll out new policies or initiatives. It basically says the following

1. All the people involved have to be self motivated

2. They should be willing to collaborate irrespective of job titles

3. Each scrum team should have people with all the knowledge and skills that will be required to develop or roll-out a change

4. Eliminate dependency on other teams or people for approvals etc

5. Empower people in the team to make decisions

The figure above shows the Scrum cycle.

  • The maximum team size is 9
  • The product backlog is the list of all the features/changes/initiatives that need to be rolled out. 
  • The sprint backlog is a small part of the product backlog that is selected to be rolled out in a specific time period called the Sprint.
  • The Sprint duration can be between 2-4 weeks. Anything more that 4 weeks should be split in to two Sprints
  • Sprint planning is a meeting that is conducted on day 1 of the sprint where people collaboratively select sprint backlog items for the sprint. The meeting duration is 2 hours for 2 week sprint and so on. 
  • Daily Standup is a 15 minute meeting where people have to very quickly tell what they are going to do today, what they did yesterday and only list down (not explain in detail) issues that they may be facing. Every person gets to talk for approximately 1.5 minutes.
  • Scrum team is comprised of Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team
  • Product Owner is a person who is responsible for maintaining the backlog, talking to end users, experts to understand requirements, make changes to the backlog and manage the budget
  • Scrum Master is the expert in Scrum and is responsible ensuring that people follow the concepts of scrum. He/she is can also be a part of the team
  • Scrum team comprises of the people who are experts in their fields and responsible to implement the features/initiatives/changes
  • Sprint Review(2 hours for 2 week sprint)is meeting conducted at the end of sprint where everyone can come and test the features/initiatives/changes that were done and can give a thumbs up or thumbs down. A thumbs down requires the team to rework on the same feature and a thumbs up means they can go ahead and implement the change.  
  • Sprint Retrospective(2 hour for 2 week sprint) is a meeting conducted at the end of the sprint and is only for the Scrum team where they discuss the good, bad, ugly of the sprint and what to keep, kick off or bring new into the next sprint.  
  • The scrum master's role is to ensure that everyone in the team abides by the rules and help the team to remove any obstacles that stop them from doing their work    

In the next part of this series we will see how to apply these concepts to the HR function of Organizational Policies and Compliance

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