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Scrum vs. Traditional Project Management

Standard IT project managers have struggled to make use of the PMI methodology with regards to software program development for decades. Making use of the standard project management methodology for software program development is similar to trying to put a square peg into a round hole; you’ll be able to force it, however it just doesn’t fit at the same time as it should.

Over the past a number of years, the Agile methodology has truly began to gain momentum. This is in huge part because of the popularity of Scrum, despite the fact that Agile has been around for nearly two decades. Scrum is 1 of many frameworks that fall under the Agile umbrella. A few of the others incorporate Extreme Programming (XP), Rational Unified Process (RUP), and Design for Six Sigma.

Control Theory

You’ll find normally two distinct sorts of control theory. The first is the defined (or theoretical) process. This is what conventional project management follows; it’s all about command and control. You will find lots and a lot of planning. You program what you expect to occur, then enforce the strategy; at times regardless of the conditions. Lastly, this process makes use of alter control. You’ll typically uncover a alter control board that oversees any alter requests.

Scrum, however, employs what exactly is called the empirical process. In this process, you understand as you proceed. As an alternative to planning everything up front and planning on the best way to handle alter, the empirical process states to “plan for alter.” As a matter of fact, the empirical process embraces alter by way of inspection and adaptation; two of the three pillars that uphold each and every implementation of empirical process control.

The Three Pillars

Traditional project management for years has followed the “iron triangle”; time, cost and top quality. These are still the 3 pillars every project manager must juggle. In an perfect world, projects could be delivered on time, under spending budget, and be of the utmost high quality. In reality, this rarely happens. For software development projects, obtaining all three never happens.

A Scrum Master also follows 3 pillars. Their pillars are transparency, inspection and adaptation. Transparency involves open communication with all members of the Scrum project team, along with the Scrum Master proudly displays their team’s burn-down charts where every person can see. They also review how well they did at in the course of their sprint during what’s known as a Sprint Review. Lastly, adaptation involves generating adjustments and improvements to tasks that will be improved.

Beginning the Transition

For several organizations trying to make the transition to Agile, the first factor they must comprehend is that a good project manager will not necessarily make a fantastic Scrum Master. They’re not directly interchangeable. Contrary to some thought, a fantastic Scrum Master doesn’t need to have Project Management experience.

As a matter of practice, the very best Scrum Master’s are typically very technical. Former SME’s and technical leads make for a great ScrumMaster. This is since they can far better empathise with developers, they realize the massive distinction between level of effort (LOE) and duration, and they can far better assist prioritise attributes along with the Product Owner.

Know Your Role

You can find 3 main roles in Scrum: the ScrumMaster, the Product Owner, and the Team. Oftentimes, you will hear people being referred to as “chickens” or “pigs”. People who make up any of the 3 primary roles are referred to as “pigs”, even though everyone else is referred to as “chickens”. A “pig” is someone who’s committed to the project, whereas a “chicken” is somebody who just involved.

The origin of these terms comes from the following story:

“A chicken and a pig are together when the chicken says, “Let’s begin a restaurant!” The pig thinks it over and says, “What would we call this restaurant?” The chicken says, “Ham n’ Eggs!” The pig says, “No thanks, I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved!”

Scrum Master The Scrum Master’s primary job is to adhere to Scrum values, practices and rules. They are an advocate for Scrum and help it get accepted and adopted throughout the organisation. They also act as the figurative “shield”. The Scrum Master protects the Team from outside political noise and ensures nobody goes directly to any team member without having following the appropriate chain-of-command. This enables the team to remain focused on the job at hand, and if any issue is often a priority, the Scrum Master and Product Owner will discuss it and prioritise it inside the Item Backlog as proper.

Product Owner The Product Owner’s primary responsibility is to manage the Item Backlog. The Product Owner can be a single individual, not a committee. The collection of stakeholders can influence the Product Owner, but the Product Owner has the final say. The Product Owner sets the priority of every single feature/request. For new Product Owners, the Scrum Master will work closely to teach him or her the way to do their job.

The Team The Team is responsible for turning items on the Item Backlog into potentially shippable functionality each Sprint. The Scrum Team is cross-functional. In other words, they consist of folks with 1 or much more specialties; including, but not limited to good quality control, development, database design, enterprise analysis. The team is self-organising and self-managing. As such, every person has the same title: Scrum Team Member.

The team size should be about seven 7 people, plus or minus 2. This size does not incorporate the Scrum Master and Product Owner (unless they’re pigs who work on tasks included inside the Sprint Backlog).

Transition Hurdles

Agile Methodology does not conform to PMI Methodology. This is totally the largest hurdle to overcome and where the internal conflict of project managers occurs; even more so for seasoned PMP’s. To successfully complete the transition, the department ought to choose one or the other in terms of Software program Development. Failure to conform to the Agile principles will lead to a failed transition.

Dual Role or Two Various Resources

Any transition to Agile is in-and-of-itself a project. For that reason, a Project Manager should be chosen to lead this transition. Also, the Scrum Master’s life cycle is revolved about software program development; which is only a subset of the entire project life cycle.

As any Project Manager is aware, becoming a Project Manager is really a full-time job. Becoming a Scrum Master is also a full-time job. The big question is can a single resource successfully perform both roles? The answer, like a lot of requirements developers are given is, “it depends.” Some organizations will try to fill both of these positions having a single resource due to spending budget constraints or other factors. This is a perfectly acceptable reason, but not necessarily the very best one. A Project Manager who is a Certified Scrum Master can perform this dual role, but this is discouraged.

Deprogramming Project Managers

Conventional plan-driven project managers ought to be deprogrammed before 1 they can grow to be a profitable agile project manager. President Eisenhower stated it very best when he said, “Planning is essential, plans are useless.” That phrase sums up the greatest difference between Agile and PMI. Success is no longer measured by how nicely the triple-constraints are balanced; it truly is only measured by the Customer. Project scope is no longer the driver; scope is driven by time and spending budget. No longer is success measured by the completion of tasks and phase-gate reviews it’s measured by the delivery of features and functions. Finally, find out to embrace alter; adore it, live for it.

Working Together

The Project Manager and Scrum Master need to be treated as peers if the project is to be productive. The Project Manager is in charge of the entire project, whereas the Scrum Master is in charge of the software program development portion of the project. It is really important that Management respect the difference.

Throughout the actual software development, the project manager must let the Scrum Master run Scrum using the Agile methodology, not the PMI methodology. As a Project Manager, the tricky part is “letting go” and trusting the ScrumMaster. This portion of the EXECUTE process group should be deemed a “black box”. The Project Manager is now deemed a “chicken”; he or she can listen in, but carries no weight.

Becoming Really Agile

Several firms really feel they are Agile simply due to the fact they are performing iterative software development. Nonetheless, performing Waterfall in an iterative fashion is undoubtedly not Agile. Agile is considerably a lot more than iterative development and rapid releases. The traditional PMI way of thinking can’t be the guide even though implementing Agile; it’ll grow to be an impediment. It really is a entire new way of thinking; a entire new philosophy. To become really agile, the entire IT department need to go by means of a paradigm shift.


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