Agile & SCRUM, more effective management of projects

Agile Scrum
Business Excellence
Project Management

The current volatile and complex business environment also means that in project management we can revert less and less to planning and fixed “baselines”. From this Agile mindset developed in the eighties, SCRUM gives us a methodology that makes an iterative, incremental project progress possible in close consultation with the customer. Stanwick supports organisations to (learn to) work with SCRUM and has certified SCRUM Masters.

The Agile movement developed in the mid-eighties based on product and software development. The reason was to be able to deal better with uncertainty and change in a project environment and finally also to shorten the turnaround times in order to respond better and quicker to customer needs. In this way Agile developed more as a work philosophy and it was not a methodology in itself. The main principles on which this new mindset was based were:

  • Be able to show output to the customer quickly and early with rapid feedback loops.
  • Simplicity in actions and decisions.
  • Adjustments and “change requests” are welcomed and are not seen as a barrier and co-operation with the customer is essential.
  • Knowledge and skills are grouped in state-of-the art self-managing project teams which guarantee speed and work on a regular basis. 

It was not until 1993 that the Agile philosophy was converted into a specific work method which is at the same time powerful and dynamic and within a fixed frame of reference offers a high guarantee in terms of project results. Building on the Agile principles, SCRUM forces the project workers in a particular rhythm to achieve the project commission. Characteristics of the SCRUM approach:

  • An iterative & incremental development (“rugby” approach compared to the earlier “relay race” or waterfall method). There is a clear concept, minimum conditions and a deadline but the planning is progressive as the plan will probably still change and often only offers false security.
  • A 100% “dedicated” team that is self-managing and has a conclusive mandate. The analogy with rugby from which the term scrum has been derived is striking: the team works together closely like a rugby team to move the ball across the field toward the opponent's half. It is important that all players are geared properly to each other, have the same intention and a specific aim in mind.
  • It works with so-called “sprints” which each comprise one PDCA cycle.
  • Clear roles: 1 product owner, 1 scrum master and a fixed development team.
  • A well-defined process with a sprint planning, daily scrums and sprint reviews. The meeting time is kept within reasonable limits (20% meetings versus 80% execution, etc. often it is the other way around).
  • A rigid reporting system whereby an accurate follow-up is guaranteed. In this way the priorities are all handled one by one which guarantees a good insight in the progress and adjustments are possible in plenty of time.
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