How to Deliver High Value Software Features in a Short Time Period using Agile Scrum Process

What is the agile scrum (Sprint) process?

Before getting into the details of this topic, it is important to us that we understand the basic meaning of ‘Agile’, ‘Agile Development Process’, ‘Scrum’ and ‘Sprint’.

The meaning of the word Agile is ‘able to move quickly and easily’. This same applies when it comes to software development. Agile is a method of project management (mainly software development) that is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.

There is Agile manifesto which tells what approaches do and don’t work for software development. Any development process which follows the concepts Agile manifesto is referred as Agile development. Scrum is nothing but one such process only. It is a light weight process framework for Agile development.

So, Scrum is a software development process based on Agile methodology. We can say that it is a subset of Agile.

In today’s rapid world, stakeholders want an immediate return on their investments. They don’t want to wait for long periods to get the full featured product. As a result, nowadays new software development and testing framework are catching momentum i.e. Scrum approach. In the scrum, projects are divided into small tasks that are to be developed and tested in specific time-frames called as a sprint (small cycles).

Literally, the word sprint means ‘run at full speed over a short distance’. And, the same concept is applied here. In the sprint, we aim for rapid completion and review of specific planned tasks while maintaining the high quality at the same time. This agile scrum team is handled by scrum master.

Scrum is an iterative, incremental framework for projects and products or application development. Scrum has become more and more popular software development and testing framework among organizations. Many small to large sized IT companies have embraced Scrum framework as this creates excellent quality products in less time than other traditional methodologies like waterfall processes.

This framework can save both companies’ time and money. It significantly increases the productivity and reduces time to benefits relative as compared to other processes of software development. It also allows the organizations to cope up better with the change.

Source: ScrumAlliance 

Having had the basic idea of Agile Scrum(Sprint) process now, let us move towards having a look at the soft skills that can help you in delivering high-value software features in a short time period.

What You Will Learn:

Soft Skills for a Scrum Team:

What Soft Skills are required to be a Successful Scrum Team?

When we start our regular (Agile) sprints (Cycles of work), we usually find some of the challenges with our team members. These challenges are not part of technical difficulties. It usually occurs with team member’s mindset or their soft skills.  Many successful Scrum projects taught us that the success of scrum depends on how team members support whole heartedly towards the Sprint.

Let us discuss some of the pre-requisite soft skills for a Scrum Team.

Team Spirit



Cross functional Team work is at the heart of Scrum.  There is no “my work”, “I have finished my work” and “your work”. In a Scrum team, we find people saying things like only “Our work”, “we have completed our Sprint”.

Individuals will have helping tendency for sharing technical knowledge. Scrum Members are always available to team members rather than locked away behind closed doors.  Scrum Master will always motivate the teams and create a Supporting learning environment.

The team will always be sprint-oriented and often discuss smooth run of the sprint. A scrum team’s job is to self-organize around the challenges and management’s job is to remove impediments to self-organization.

Communication

Good communication must exist among team members of the development team, testing team, business analysts and stake holders. There must be a highly collaborative interaction between client and the delivery teams. More client involvement implies more suggestions or changes from the client.  It implies more bandwidth for communication.

Commitment

Commitment is one of the core scrum values.

Agile Teams needs periodic re-energizing to renew their commitments to their purpose and to each other.  Scrum Masters can help by ensuring that the team embraces the concept of whole-team responsibility and whole-team commitment to deliver working software at the end of each sprint. With the whole-team commitment, the team member who has completed his tasks will help the one who has not yet completed so that hopefully each team finishes the assigned tasks on time.

Problem Solving

Scrum does not simply focus on developing just any type of end product.  Instead, the Scrum method allows the team to focus on creating a product that fulfills the customer’s highest value priorities which are defined by product owners.

Transparency

Transparency or openness among team members and management gives a real momentum to the scrum team. Scrum Master encourages people to ask for help, surface roadblocks, and give recognition to those who help others and solve problems. At the same time, Scrum Master also understands the time wasted and impact on the team when individuals sit ideally or ignore problems.

Scrum Result

If scrum team follows the above said soft skills, team velocity will increase significantly.  In turn, customers will appreciate the results or updates – and also can react quickly to any potential problems. The team can deliver high-value software features in a short time period and the team can contribute towards changing business conditions.

Useful Reads

About Author: J.B.Rajkumar is a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and he has rich experience in Agile/Scrum framework. He has worked as Corporate Trainer, Project Lead, QA Manager and QC Manager. He has implemented Scrum in no. of projects in his current organization. He is a frequent speaker on Agile/Scrum for International Conferences, Colleges, Universities and Software Industries. He conducts training on Scrum and Agile Testing.  Presently he is with Automation Practice, in one of the top MNCs.

If you have queries about agile/scrum/sprint software development and the testing process then please ask in comments below.

If you also want to write a guest article on this website, please read our guest article guidelines!