An Introduction to Scrum Methodology

Product development in the pre-internet days involved meticulous planning, careful scheduling and the unified pursuit of a clearly identified end goal. It’s a rigid structure that proved successful across virtually all industries for many decades. However, this traditional model has become a bit cumbersome—and impractical—in recent years as the Digital Age has significantly impacted the global marketplace.

An ever-increasing desire for better, faster and more productive technology, along with a pattern of constantly changing consumer behavior has caused modern businesses to seek a more fluid, responsive and feedback driven methodology for product development. Today’s competitive organizations realize there is a deep need to favor speed and adaptability over caution and deluded attempts at perfection.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame NFL Head Coach

Most modern businesses can’t afford to devise a complex plan for weeks or even months before executing their strategy, only to hit their launch date and realize the market for their idea has shifted or completely vanished.

Scrum is a type of agile methodology that removes such risk by composing smaller cross-functional teams of up to nine people who work in small cycles, called sprints, which last around two-to-four weeks each. The goal is to provide the client with a deliverable at the end of each sprint. Scrum deliverables may be far from perfect, but that’s expected when each subsequent sprint is customized to address customer feedback and iterate until the product reaches its most ideal state.

These sprints could conceivably be carried on indefinitely, depending on several factors such as customer feedback, new technology, changing market conditions, etc. One of the key differentiators from the traditional approach to product development is that there is no definitive end-point with Scrum.

“Never do betas. Never do work that you don’t think is good. You either give your customer something good, or you don’t.”
Jeff Sutherland, Co-inventor of the Scrum methodology

We spoke with Dave Prior, a certified Scrum master trainer at LeadingAgile, which is a company dedicated to “helping larger organizations achieve better business outcomes through the systematic application of agile delivery methods.” Dave told us that people are at the heart of the Scrum methodology. Scrum focuses on the collaboration and empowerment of team members to think creatively and consistently react within the best interest of the individual client.

One of the biggest challenges for most organizations face when adopting the Scrum methodology is adoption from within the company. People—even incredibly talented professionals—tend to fear change and default to old habits whenever possible. For this reason, Prior suggests that it is helpful to take an incremental approach in order to get buy-in from key stakeholders. Take it slow and steady and people are likely to understand that adopting Scrum will enable them to be more effective in their roles.

Think your organization could benefit from the Scrum approach? We’ve discovered a few outstanding online resources to get you started:

When you’re ready to implement this methodology in your organization, contact us at Roam to book a creative and innovative meeting space for your first sprint!