Scrum is an agile project movement process. Agile project management, as opposed to traditional project management, is an iterative approach, suitable for projects where there is a high level of uncertainty. The project progresses in iterations, the team works closely with the customer to define the deliverables of each iteration, and the entire project team shares responsibilities of a traditional project manager. Scrum is a popular process for software development projects, and distinguishes itself from the other agile processes in many aspects.
Generally, in Scrum, the project iterations are up to one month long, and there is a partial deliverable completed at the end of each iteration. As in other agile processes, the customer’s feedback is needed in each iteration, and the emphasis is on collaboration among the team members and between the team and the customer. The teams are cross-functional, work together, and are accountable for the failure or success of each iteration and of the project in general. The project team has daily meetings, which means that Scrum requires collocated teams. Importantly, in Scrum, planning, controlling, creating schedules, and establishing responsibilities are decided by the team members.
Key Roles – Scrum Master and Product Owner
There are two key roles, the Scrum master and the product owner. The Scrum master is sort of a coach or mentor, helping the team apply the Scrum process to the project in the best way possible. The Scrum master should not be mistaken for the project manager or the team leader. This is because the role of the Scrum master is not to lead the team, since the team is empowered to make decisions, but to act as a mediator if there are issues, and a counselor for Scrum process, when needed. The product owner should not be mistaken for the customer, who is the owner of the deliverable created at the end of the project. In Scrum, the product owner’s role is to assist the project team in the creation of the project deliverables, according to the customer’s specifications. The product owner can also be seen as a mediator between the customer and the project team, or as a representative of the customer. (more…)