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Scrum – Project Management Framework
By Michelle Symonds

Scrum is a project management framework used to help project managers effectively complete heavy workloads or complicated projects. It was initially created to be used solely within software development, but can be applied to any project involving complicated work. Despite the many different possibilities Scrum provides, the principal of the process is actually very simple.

Why call it Scrum?

Scrum was created in 1993 by Jeff Sutherland who had studied a Harvard Business Review piece by Takeuchi and Nonaka. The piece discussed comparisons between teams of high performance individuals and the rugby formation of a scrum. Sutherland borrowed the term to label his project management framework.

The methodology is used by leading corporations worldwide and exists to help absolutely anyone effectively approach a complex project. The processes within the system are agile and suitable for a broad spectrum of applications, which means its use is not restricted to software development.

How does it work?

A basic rundown of the methodology is:

  • The person who owns the product creates a product backlog. The backlog is essentially a list of priorities put into order of most important first.
  • The sprint planning process takes place where the team members choose the top priorities from the product owners wish list creating a ‘sprint backlog’ and discusses and decides on the best way to complete that work.

  • The team will then work through a sprint which can be anything from 14 days to 30 days depending on the project. This work must be completed in that timeframe and ‘daily scrum’ meetings will occur to maintain communication.

  • The ‘Scrum Master’ will maintain focus throughout the sprint and help the team stay focused on the targets.

  • When the sprint finishes the work should be entirely completed rather than suitable for revision and ready to be submitted to the product owner or customer.

  • The end of the sprint will involve a full discussion and contemplative review of the process.

After the process has finished the cycle will repeat itself continually until it is due to stop. Each project differs with its reason for ending the cycle with the most common reasons being; deadline reached, budget used up or product backlog completed. The idea of the Scrum process is ensuring that no matter why the work has been stopped, the work that has been completed will be the most important when the project closes.

Who uses Scrum?

The beauty of the process is the fact that it can streamline many different types of project from many different industries. The majority of project management training courses will now discuss Scrum as an innovative agile framework which is used by more than half of companies using this type of process.

Some applications of Scrum are:

  • Universities – using the process to successfully deliver completed projects to important customers.
  • The Military – using the process to successfully plan and prepare ships for distribution.

  • Charities – using the process to quickly and effectively plan and create a charity event.

Due to its endless possibilities and potential for success, Scrum is becoming more and more popular with every industry and sector within the world of project management. Agile project management is no longer reserved just for IT projects so if you are wondering whether agile project management is right for you just give it a try; it could be one of the factors that contribute to a successful project.

Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.

There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.

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