A Beginner's guide to Scrum

If you are new to project management, then it might be helpful to get familiar with some of the basics of Scrum methodology to get started with it. So first things first - let's try and understand what is Scrum precisely in the first place and what does it involve?

What is Scrum and how did it evolve?

Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile development process, which is widely used by companies today for effective management of product or application development in software projects. It can be valuable for companies in creating self-organizing teams with focus on co-location to assist team members in effective verbal communication. It helps in ensuring better flexibility among teams to accomplish their tasks with maximum efficiency. Scrum is a subset of the agile development method, and it was mainly created in response to the traditional sequential waterfall approach, which was far more complex and less flexible for making reviews and changes in the final product and proved to be more expensive.

On the other hand, the agile model is based on shorter development cycles and is a cost-effective way of making continuous improvements to the products at different stages for delivering products of the highest value. Scrum has quickly evolved over the years to address the needs of the large organizations with complicated projects which would otherwise take a long time for completion. In this process, the development cycle may be broken down into boxed units known as Sprints. These sprints aim to ensure that the team can produce a working software at the end of the specified and mutually agreed timeframe( usually 1-2 weeks) for making continuous improvements to create the final product.

History of Scrum

The term Scrum was first introduced by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka (well-known management thinkers) about product development in 1986 through their Harvard Business Review article. They defined the new approach to product development that could lead to improvement in speed and agility in commercial product development used across different manufacturing industries based on their case studies. However, in the early 1990’s, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber conceived the scrum process by inheriting the name-Scrum from the groundbreaking article by Hirotaka and Ikujiro. The idea in their research article emphasized on the fact that superior performance in development of new and challenging products could be achieved when teams were organized as small and self-organizing individuals who were given objectives and not assigned tasks. The best teams were those who were able to devise their strategies on how to achieve the broader goals of the organization. The research also stressed the importance of autonomy to be given to teams to achieve extraordinary results.

Later on, both Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber codified Scrum in 1995 which was presented at the OOPSLA conference in Texas and published the paper-Scrum Software Development Process”. In the next few years, both Jeff and Ken collaborated their efforts using their experience to come up with the practice of Scrum. Thus the scrum framework for software development is based on the principles as described in the research article by Hirotaka and Ikujiro for an event and sustaining some of the complex software products.

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