When scrum is implemented well, organizations and scrum teams gain six major benefits. When scrum is implemented poorly, they don’t. Are you getting these benefits? How’s your scrum implementation going?
Why Implement Scrum?
Why do organizations adopt scrum? Common responses usually start with a period of thought. As if the question has never arisen before. Then, answers can vary between
- “… everyone else is doing it …“
- “… we want to create better product, faster, at less cost…“
- “… it’s better than waterfall …”
Curious. Surely we’d want compelling reasons to want to implement scrum? Scrum adoption is disruptive. Don’t we need to be clear about the benefits that this upheaval will cause?
Well, yes. And it does usually happen. Someone, somewhere in your organization had the great idea to implement scrum. But did they share the reasons why? Are they still around today?
The reasons why you implemented scrum may be unique. If so, you should find out what they are. Otherwise, how do you know if your implementation is doing well?
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there
– Lewis Carroll
If your reasons for implementing scrum are vague, or forgotten. Or if you’re newly adopting scrum, try this option: Try measuring your progress against these six benefits of scrum.
The Six Benefits of Scrum
1. Delighted Customers
A common benefit of scrum done well, is delighted customers. This applies equally to internal customers (though we usually call them stakeholders) and external customers.
One comment I had from a company CFO after a sprint review was “What I enjoy, more than anything else, is seeing tangible progress every two weeks”.
Other elements that delight customers include:
- The project can adapt and easily respond to change
- Improved quality
- Products meet need rather than specification
2. Delighted Team Members
Your team members enjoy their work a lot more. There are many reasons for this. Here are just a few:
- Clearer understanding of the product and product vision
- Low bureaucratic overhead (meetings, documentation, etc.)
- Better relationship and trust with customers and stakeholders, who are also more involved
- Fewer interruptions and greater focus
3. Lower Product Cost
Scrum focuses continuously on what’s important for the product and customer. There’s a constant review to ensure they they address ‘need’ and not ‘specification’. Scrum teams spend more time on what the customer needs, and less time on what they don’t.
- Continuous focus on what’s important to the stakeholders
- Option to release the product at the end of every sprint
4. Less Waste
Scrum teams work hard to get rid of anything they don’t need. Whether that’s bureaucracy, meetings, outdated hardware or radio speakers in their office space, everything is up for consideration. If it doesn’t help get the product done, it’s a candidate for removal. There’s a wonderful phrase good scrum teams use: “Maximize the amount of work not done”
This focus on removing waste helps to get product created sooner. More product, less cost. Everyone’s happy.
5. Faster Completion
Most teams deliver a viable product sooner using scrum rather than any other way of working.
This is partly due to a focus on ‘need’, a reduction in waste, constant retrospection and professional development techniques.
But it’s also because scrum is perfectly designed to work with the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
But as well as delivering completed product, scrum is often the right choice for failed projects too. Scrum teams will work on the risky stuff first. The idea is to try and fail early. Because it’s better to fail two months in rather than wait until the end of an 18 month project.
6. Improved situational awareness
A common complaint with waterfall projects is that they are impossible to control. Scrum says that complex product creation cannot be controlled because there are too many variables.
But, of course, we still plan. To do this, scrum borrows from empirical process control. The three pillars of empiricism are transparency, inspection and adaptation. The transparency provided gives a realistic perspective on where we are. The frequent inspection and adaptation keeps us on course. The lessons we learn helps us to plan future work.
The outcome is less stress and more reliable forecasting.
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