How To Implement Scrum To Solve Complex Problems

How To Implement Scrum To Solve Complex Problems
How to use Scrum as a powerful way to solve complex problems, starting from the theory of Scrum to its implementation in the form of carrying out Scrum activities (scrum events) carried out by the Scrum Team.

Let's first understand what is Scrum? why use scrum? when is scrum used? what is meant by complex problem?

The word scrum is used by rugby players to unite to move forward and this became the inspiration for an article by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. They proposed the development of a new product based on the rugby analogy, namely passing the ball between players as a team unit.

In 1990 scrum began to be used to deal with complex problems and in 1995 it was developed into a scrum guide by Jeff Shuterland and Ken Schwaber in a presentation at the conference on object oriented programming systems in Austin Texas.

Currently Scrum is the most popular agile framework in the world based on the 2018 Annual Agile State Report

3 Scrum Artifacts

Scrum artifacts consist of:
  1. Product backlog
  2. Sprint backlogs
  3. Increments
1. Product backlog

The product backlog is an ordered list of all features, functions and requirements that are known to date and must be present in a product and has description, estimation and business value attributes.

The product backlog is a living artifact, that is, this artifact will continue to exist as long as the product exists and will continues to grow because it is updated according to market conditions and needs. Changes in business requirements, market conditions or technology will change the product backlog.

2. Sprint backlogs

The Sprint Backlog is the result of the sprint planning for the product backlog of selected items to be worked on in the current sprint along with the plan to deliver the increments to achieve the Sprint goal and is transparent and displays all development team activities.

Only the development team can modify the contents of the sprint backlog throughout the sprint. In each sprint, the total work remaining in the sprint backlog can be totaled.

3. Increments

Increment is a manifestation of the product backlog items completed in a sprint and the total business value increment from all previous sprints and can be inspected. Each increment is an addition to the previous increment and has been thoroughly tested to ensure that all increments function as a unified whole.

The three Scrum artifacts above must be transparent, otherwise every decision making becomes less trusted, business value decreases and risk increases.

The 3 Pillars of Scrum

Scrum pillars consist of:
  1. Transparency
  2. Inspection
  3. Adaptation
1. Transparency

The Scrum team can access all information transparently in the development process thereby helping the company move faster. For example creating project visualizations using the scrum board or ensuring that each team has the same understanding of the "definition of done" for product increment work.

2. Inspection

Inspection is being critical of the work and how it is done. Critical understanding here is not about judging, commenting negatively and blaming others but being critical of seeing something in order to fix it.

Inspections are performed on scrum and process development artifacts.

3. Adaptation

Adaptation is making changes to fix a problem or experimenting with opportunities. During the development process there are often changes in new priorities, changes in leadership or other matters that disrupt the market and impact on product work.

Scrum teams must adapt to new situations and deliver relevant and valuable products to customers directly, in contrast to waterfall teams because they have difficulty adapting to new realities.

5 Scrum Values

Scrum has 5 values consisting of:
  1. Courage
  2. Focus
  3. Commitment
  4. Mutual respect
  5. Openness
1. Courage
  • Courage is not building a product without anyone wanting it
  • Courage to accept requirements that have not and will never be perfect
  • Courage to accept the fact that no plan can capture complexity
  • Courage does not provide products without fulfilling the definition of done
  • Courage to share all the information to help the team and the organization
  • Courage to admit that there is no perfection
  • Courage to share risks and benefits
2. Focus

When facing complex problems and uncertainty, focus is the key to getting things done. Scrum teams only focus on a few things at a time so they can deliver the most valuable products faster.

3. Commitment

Commitment is a dedication to act in totality and not about the end result.
  • Committed to team success and willing to create realistic goals as committed.
  • Committed to do the best to achieve the sprint goal
  • Committed to applying agile principles and challenging the status quo
4. Mutual respect

Mutual respect and respect for differences of opinion among team members and giving respect to stakeholders by not building features because no one will use them and giving respect to users by fixing their problems.

5. Openness

Openness to work, how to work and the goals of what is done. Scrum is open to cross-functional collaboration to get increments according to sprint goals. Scrum is open to stakeholders to share feedback with each other and is open to any changes.

This is a brief description of Scrum theory including Scrum artefacts, Scrum pillars and the values Scrum upholds. Furthermore, after a brief understanding of Scrum theory, it's time to implement using Scrum as a powerful way to deal with complex problems.

Scrum implementation includes establishing a scrum team structure and implementing scrum events.

Scrum Team

Scrum teams are self organized and cross functional and optimize flexibility, creativity and productivity.

Scrum teams consist of:
  1. Product owner
  2. Scrum masters
  3. Development team.
1. Product owner

The product owner is a mini CEO so they must have authority s and management support to lead efforts to align stakeholder needs and product development. The product owner must be someone who can be trusted to use the budget effectively.

Classification of a product owner:
  • Have a deep understanding of the customer, market and business
  • Have the ability to negotiate and communicate with the scrum team and all stakeholders
  • Visionary
Duties and responsibilities of the product owner:
  • Delivering the contents of the product backlog
  • Sort the product backlog in order to achieve the goals and mission
  • Optimizing the business value of the development team's work
  • Ensuring the product backlog is transparent and clear to all parties and displays the scrum team's next work
  • Ensure the development team understands backlog items
2. Scrum master

The Scrum master is a servant leader, serving the product owner, development team and organization.

The scrum master's duties are:
  • Introducing and supporting the use of scrum according to the scrum guide
  • Helps to understand scrum theory, practice, rules and values. The Scrum Master is a coach and mentor for the Scrum Team.
Responsibilities in serving the product owner:
  • Provide coaching on how the product owner manages the product backlog
  • Ensuring that communication between the product owner and the development team runs well so that all product backlogs can be understood by the development team
  • Facilitate scrum events
  • Ensure product scope objectives are understandable to all Scrum team members
  • Helping the Scrum team to understand the product backlog clearly and concisely
  • Understand product planning in an empirical environment
  • Ensuring the product owner understands how to manage the product backlog
  • Understand and practice agility
Responsibilities in serving the development team:
  • Guiding the development team to become self-organized
  • Removing job barriers
  • Facilitate scrum events
  • Provide coaching
Responsibilities in serving the organization:
  • Become an agile champion for organizations in using Scrum
  • Make plans about using Scrum in the organization
  • Helping organizations understand and use Scrum as well as carry out empirical product development
3. Development team

Characteristics of development teams
  • Self organize
  • Cross functional
  • Do not know the position for members of the development team
  • Accountability belongs to all members
After the Scrum team structure is formed as the initial stage of Scrum implementation, the next step is implementing all Scrum events as a concrete form of implementation using Scrum as a powerful way to solve complex problems.

5 Scrum Events

Scrum has mandatory events to reduce meetings outside of Scrum. This event is carried out regularly with a certain time limit called a timebox. The timebox duration on Scrum events that have started cannot be changed.

Scrum events consist of:
  1. Sprints
  2. Sprint Planning
  3. Daily Scrums
  4. Sprint Reviews
  5. Sprint Retrospectives
1. Sprints

Sprint is the container for all Scrum events. Sprints have a fixed duration during the product development process. During the sprint there are several processes starting from sprint planning, daily scrum, development, sprint review and sprint retrospective.

During the sprint then:
  • There should be no change in requirements because it will disrupt the sprint goal
  • Product quality should not decrease
  • Every time something new is learned, the scope can be clarified and renegotiated between the product owner and the development team.
Each sprint can be considered as a project lasting no more than 1 month to achieve a goal.

Sprints can be canceled before the timebox ends by the product owner if company, market or technology goals change. In fact sprint cancellations are rarely done due to their short duration. But if the sprint is still canceled then all completed product backlog items will be reviewed

2. Sprint planning

Sprint planning is scrum team planning regarding achieving goals in a sprint and how to achieve these goals. This planning is carried out collaboratively by all members of the scrum team within a maximum of 8 hours.

Sprint planning inputs:
  • Product backlog
  • Team capacity
  • Retrospective action plan
Sprint planning output:
  • Sprint goals, namely the objectives to be achieved during the sprint through the implementation of the product backlog and provide guidance for the development team to develop increments. Sprint goals become a guide for the development team to answer the question why they are developing increments.
  • Sprint backlog, namely product backlog items selected for the sprint
Before the sprint planning ends, the development team must explain how they work as self-organized to achieve the sprint goal in the product flow ner and scrum master.

3. Daily scrums

The daily scrum is a mandatory internal development team meeting every day with a maximum timebox of 15 minutes. The daily scrum is carried out at the same time and place every day to reduce complexity.

3 popular daily scrum questions to help development teams achieve sprint goals but not a standard format:
  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What did you do today?
  • Are there any obstacles interfering?
Benefits of daily scrums:
  • Improve the quality of communication
  • Eliminate other encounters
  • Identify barriers
  • Highlights and supports quick decision making
  • Increase the knowledge level of the development team
The daily scrum is the key to inspection and adaptation meetings.

The scrum master and product owner are not required to attend but the scrum master is obliged to ensure that the development team carries out the daily scrum and is carried out correctly

The daily scrum is a means of identifying obstacles, not meeting looking for solutions to long problems. The development team inspects the sprint backlog

The daily scrum does not have to be done standing but should be done at the same time and place to reduce complexity. The development team should make a mutual agreement so that they can respect and be disciplined in carrying out the daily scrum

More value if the scrum master participates in the daily scrum:
  • Facilitate the development team who are new to the daily scrum
  • Facilitate so that the self-organized development team can determine their own collective agreement
  • Run according to timebox
  • More valuable in inspecting the sprint backlog
  • Maintain the effectiveness of the daily scrum
  • Obstacles that cannot be resolved by the development team can be identified and followed up immediately.
  • Preventing the daily scrum from becoming a problem solving discussion
More value if the product owner participates in the daily scrum:
  • Explain to the development team if there is a need for clarification regarding requirements and sprint goals
  • Inform if there are additions or changes
  • Cancels the sprint if the sprint goal is out of date
4. Sprint Reviews

Sprint review is a scrum event between the scrum team and stakeholders to inspect increments. The sprint review has a 4 hour timebox conducted at the end of the sprint and before the sprint retrospective.

Incremental presentations are made to get feedback and develop collaboration skills. The results of the sprint review are product backlog revisions and outline product backlog items in the next sprint.

Sprint review stages:
  • The product owner invites stakeholders and the scrum team.
  • The product owner conveys to stakeholders regarding the unfinished and completed backlogs
  • The development team delivers presentations and questions and answers regarding the increment results
  • Let's look at the latest market conditions together and consider whether it's good enough to release increments.
  • Stakeholders and the scrum team collaborate to provide input on the next sprint.
5. Sprint Retrospectives

Sprint retrospective is the final scrum event for the scrum team at the end of each sprint for team evaluation including manpower, process and tool performance as well as making improvement plans in the next sprint. The sprint retrospective is conducted after the sprint review and before the next sprint planning for a maximum of 3 hours.
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