Coming from a banking background, the fraternities of different project management styles were quite a foreign language to me. Traditional approach project management. Waterfall. Agile. Lean. Extreme. PRINCE2. Event Chain. I think you catch my drift- there are a lot of options out there for project management styles.
Upon starting a new project that was transitioning from Waterfall Project Management to Agile Project Management, I decided that I had better do some research on this Agile effort so that I could effectively support my project. Agile management style isn’t typically a conversation one has with their peers over a beer, so I decided to consult the trusty Amazon search forum for as much Agile Management material that my Visa and Prime membership could muster. In an effort to gain knowledge (and free shipping) I ordered several books on the topic, but there is one concept that struck a chord with me.
Scrum. In high school I tried my hand at a couple games of rugby, so I was familiar with the term. While I decided not to pursue rugby (why ruin all the hard work of my braces?), the experience helped me make the applicable scrum methodology comparisons in my professional life. In rugby, scrum is really looked at as a way to huddle your team and initiate play. In all honesty, it isn’t all that different in the professional setting. In the project management world, simply put, Scrum is the methodology of bringing a project team together to initiate the development of a complex product or process. Did I just get too ‘consultant speak’? Yeah, I caught that too. Let’s bring it down a level.
Picture yourself as a project manager. If we strip away all the deliverables, team expectations, timelines and ancillary considerations, everything really boils down to one guiding principle: How do I make this project a success?
This is where my love for the Scrum methodology comes into play. Scrum distills projects down into very simple and basic elements for successful project completion. In fact, the very first step in the Scrum methodology is defining what success is, defining what failure is, and then optimizing the project for success. Along that basic element vein, Scrum attempts to make instant adjustments, and break down work into time- boxed events. In doing this, the team accomplishes a lot of small milestones relatively quickly, which help to reach the final milestone that defines the project as a success.
While I am not yet a Scrum Master, I do identify with this project management effort and consider myself to be a faithful follower. While Scrum methodology has numerous benefits (far more than I can capture in one blog post), here are some of my favorite things about it:
- Scrum embodies basic principles
- Scrum uses short cycles with adjustable scope
- Scrum focuses on repeating cadences of events, or sprints
- Scrum attempts to test/ vet new requirements to ensure work is ready after every sprint
- Scrum optimizes turnaround time and responsiveness to requests
- Scrums operates lightweight- meaning low overhead
- Scrum focuses on finding the ideal solution
- Scrum supports agile by pushing instant turnaround versus quick turnaround
As you picture yourself as a project manager, do the Scrum benefits I highlighted sound like something that might make your job easier and your project more successful? If so, I encourage you to look into Agile Project Management and Scrum efforts. By successfully completing projects in a creative and nimble manner, we are certainly giving our clients ‘scrumthing’ to talk about!