Scrum Agile Methoden in Digital Projekten Messe Frankfurt Digital Services

The digitalized working environment: remaining agile with SCRUM

Digitalization is fundamentally changing our working environments as agility is becoming a critical success factor for companies. We have summarized the most famous representative of agile practices, SCRUM.

German executives have also recognized the indispensable nature of agility in the digitalized world of work. According to the study “Accelerating Velocity and Costumer Value with Agile and DevOps”, which was conducted once again in 2017 by CA Technologies, 88 percent of the German companies surveyed indicated that they see agile methods as being a decisive factor for successfully managing digital transformation. 84 percent of companies using agile methods also believe they were able to increase customer satisfaction.

But what exactly does “agile work” mean? One of the most famous methods for agile work is called SCRUM – an approach that breaks down large development projects into small manageable bits. We have summarized the basic principles and work processes here for you.

Approach: breaking down big challenges into manageable pieces

The basic principle of SCRUM, which consists of breaking down larger projects into small tasks, is based on the assumption that, starting at a certain volume, projects can not be realistically assessed and planned in their entire complexity from the start of the project. Unlike the waterfall method, in which one process builds on another – planning, development, testing, review and rollout – SCRUM can be used to avoid the risk of launching a solution that no longer corresponds to the current market or customer requirements at the time of release.

SCRUM roles: an interdisciplinary structure
  • The Product Owner acts as a kind of customer emissary. They are the initiator and (internal) contractor for the project, who prioritizes and approves the individual sprints. They are also responsible for the creation, maintenance and prioritization of the Product Backlog.
  • The Scrum Master coordinates the team and is responsible for managing the process. They remove obstacles and create the framework conditions for the project team to work undisturbed.
  • The interdisciplinary Team consists of members including programmers designers and testers. Unlike traditional project management structures the entire team is included from the outset in all planning steps. The team decides for itself how and when it implements what.
  • External customers are referred to as Stakeholders and are also part of the project team. They gain insight into the development steps at regular intervals and can make change requests via the Product Owner.
Procedure: small Sprint instead of a marathon
  • Product Backlog: Each SCRUM project begins with creation of a Product Backlog. This describes all the features and requirements that the final product should include. The features are described in so-called User Stories: These stories provide reasoning for the individual features based on user requirements and always use the following simple form:
    “As <User>, I want <wish> for <benefit>”.

Scrum agile Methods in Digital Projects Product Backlog 768x675

This structure ensures one of the fundamental principles of SCRUM: it is not designed for its own sake. Each feature is geared to the needs of the user (and thus indirectly to the customer).

A User Story from the Product Backlog of a web provider could be as follows, for example: As User, I want to log in to be able to use my email account.

  • Sprint Planning Meeting: A sprint consists of planning, developing, testing and rolling out an (independently functioning) part of the overall product. The team uses the Sprint Planning Meeting to decide on the specific User Stories to be implemented in a sprint by assigning estimated effort to the User Stories with the highest priorities in the Product Backlog and planning them accordingly.
  • Sprint Backlog: The Sprint Planning Meeting results in the Sprint Backlog, which includes all the User Stories that are to be implemented in the planned sprint. In order to implement the sprint, the User Stories are broken down into their smallest sub-tasks, assigned a time estimate and written down on task notes.
  • Daily SCRUM: In the Daily SCRUM, the entire team gathers around the SCRUM Wall, to inform each other of the current project status using the task notes. Important: the meeting is limited to 15 minutes and serves only answer the following 3 questions:
  1. Which Sprint tasks have I implemented since the last Daily?
  2. Which tasks will I implement by the next Daily?
  3. In case of problems: What is preventing me from implementing my current responsibilities as planned?

To tackle these obstacles, follow-up meetings are agreed on with the persons involved. This prevents the team meeting from being unnecessarily long and only involves the primary people affected.

To visualize the Sprint status, team members organize their task notes on the SCRUM Wall according to their status “to do”, “in progress” or “completed”. The digital counterpart to this are “Burndown Charts“.

  • Sprint Review and Retrospective: At the end of the sprint, the team presents its result to the Product Owner (and to the customer at regular intervals). The Product Owner decides whether the presented result is considered approved. If this is not the case, it is included in the next Sprint planning as a task. In the Retrospective, the team discusses what went well in the current Sprint and what can be improved in the next Sprint.

This process is repeated for each step until the project is completed or the entire product is rolled out.

Advantages and limitations of SCRUM

Projects can be more reliably planned and implemented from the beginning due to the gradual iterative approach. This can have positive effects on the timing and costs as well as the project result.

Scrum agile Methods in Digital Projects Product Backlog-768x675nn

The team works in a self-determined way, which results in a high level of motivation as well as quick and good results. Problems and short-term changes are detected at an early stage in the Daily SCRUMS and can be discussed with the customer. Product owner and stakeholders are involved throughout the development process and can take advantage of the first parts of the new solution early on, while also having the opportunity to integrate new ideas.

On the whole, customer orientation and benefit maximization can be increased, which results in a higher level of satisfaction among the customers and the members of the own organization.

However, working in an agile way requires not only experienced and qualified SCRUM team members, but also management that has internalized the agile values: SCRUM only includes roles, not positions or hierarchies. The focus of this way of working together is team spirit. Respect and transparency are of utmost importance.

If the management of an organization still works according to the traditional waterfall system, then the limits to implementing SCRUM will be felt quite quickly. SCRUM is an all-or-nothing method. If, for example, customers are not involved in approving a Sprint, individual team members do not participate in the Daily SCRUMs, or meetings are held without clear facilitation and time windows, the project will be unsuccessful.

Last but not least, SCRUM is not necessarily suitable for all kinds of projects. If a project is very manageable, runs well using familiar workflows and there are no fixed delivery dates for the project results, then SCRUM may not necessarily be the tool of choice.

Relaunch of messefrankfurt.com: Messe Frankfurt positions itself as a leader in the agile world of work

In general, SCRUM provides space for new possibilities technologies, trends and customer requirements by dividing work up into Sprints. The method is particularly good for complex tasks, for which the required effort is difficult to estimate.

Scrum agile Methods in Digital Projects Relaunch mfm.com_

Messe Frankfurt realized this early on and is relying on SCRUM for its current relaunch of www.messefrankfurt.com. With this advanced method, the trade fair company has once again positioned itself as a pioneer in implementing digital projects in an agile way.

For more information about important Digital trends 2017 also read our articles Global trade fairs connect industries worldwideMobile advertising: native or conventional? and #GED17: international trade fair day on June 7, 2017.

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