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.

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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.

sprint

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.

agile scrum sprint process

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.

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

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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

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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.

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.

Transparency

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.

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

  1. Hi
    This is really innovative information for me and other aspirant .I would like to give my sincere thanks for a lot information about Agile Testing

  2. Very Nice Article.
    i have a small confusion that, in this process how ca we reduce the project delivery time line. Phase by testing may increase the time line.

  3. Nice Article, just one quick question, what if one or more items are incomplete (development or testing is in progress) in a sprint and next sprint is ready for execution?

  4. I appreciate the effort taken by Mr rajkumar to highlight the salient points of agile testing and its advantages for general benefit.I am a marketing person with 25 of expertise and interested in an environment which encourages team work, which has become redundant these days. For want of corporate concept the companies are having problems to survive.
    great work. Thanks

  5. I appreciate the effort taken by Mr rajkumar to highlight the salient points of agile testing and its advantages for general benefit.I am a marketing person with 25 of expertise and interested in an environment which encourages team work for optimum out put, which unfortunately has become redundant these days. For want of corporate concept the companies are having problems to survive.
    great work. Thanks

  6. Hi,
    How to Performed security testing of basic levels in the Finance Tracker application??

    If someone help me..

    Thanks
    JD

  7. i find this article and the posts by Mr Raj Kumar extremely helpful since we are adopting almost everything mentioned here like agile method/sprint/scrum etc.but i need inputs regarding the most modern trends/additions to agile methodology so that we can adapt what suit us from among them.to be clear we are looking for information regarding hiw can the projects be streamlined(more)and estimates and risk reduction done more effectively.finally is agile mpre suited for product testing/services…Thanks

  8. Scrum/Agile wat ever u call it has become a slavery nowadays.. team was heavily loaded and they need to work extra time to complete the tasks so that we cannot think of working on. previous sprints..

  9. Thanks for all the comments and the knowledge sharing related to scrum. Can anyone guide me on TDD(Test Driven development). I would like to know in detail about the test driven development in Scrum Methedology. Thanks in advance for your answers.

    Best Regards,
    Harihara Prasath

  10. @sugar Seen that most of the time scrum master push too much stories ( tasks) into a sprint. A good scrum master would prioritize the stories to be developed for the sprint broken into sub-tasks. And then keep some of the other tasks in the parking lot. If during the sprint all the stories are completed, then items from the parking lot is picked. Refer Kanban model of agile for details.

  11. @rimjhim there is no concept of separate testing in agile. Development & testing go hand in hand. While developers do coding for the task (story), testers write test cases. Once story developed, anyone from the team can execute test cases.

  12. The explanation is clear. But from my understanding: Scrum testing we test the modules soon as it it done with the development. Actually with Unit testing also we do the same. We take a separate unit or functionality and validate it.

    please correct me if I’m wrong: Is the Scrum testing and Unit testing more or less the same?

    How can we differentiate between Scrum and Unit testing?

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