Continuing on from my last post on the ScrumMaster Certification and Agile principles, in this post I thought I would go over the Four Agile Values and some additional Scum terminology.
Agile methods, if taken to the extreme end of the spectrum, are considered to be a polar opposite of a plan-driven or disciplined form of Project Management. But Agile teams still utilize disciplined formal methods. In that spirit, there are considered to be four principle agile values according the Agile Manifesto.
- Individuals and interactions are more valuable than processes and tools
- Software that works is more valuable than comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration is more valuable than contract negotiation
- Responding to change is more valuable than following a plan
Agile is a philosophy based on people, collaboration and shared values. While Agile has many strengths it can also have many weaknesses based on the project itself and if it needs a bit more of a traditional structure. But PMs can use agile principles to manage change, improve communication, reduce cost, increase efficiency and demonstrate value to customers.
Some of the more commonly used terms in Scrum are actually fairly easy to understand once you understand the concept behind Agile.
The Sprint is a “time-boxed” iteration of a present number of weeks (usually 2) in which development occurs on a set of backlog items the team has committed to in that sprint. A sprint is like a mini project and while changes to scope may be renegotiated if new information becomes available, no changes should be made that would affect the goal of the current sprint.
A Product Backlog is a prioritized list of all requirements of the project, including features, enhancements, quality attributes etc. High priority items are detailed with precise estimates. Lower priority items may be deferred or dropped. “Grooming” the backlog after the end of every Sprint means adding more organization and detail to the backlog and refining the estimates. This is usually done by the development team.
I was going to go over a few more basics of Scrum terminology, but will keep that for the next post as well as more details of the core team and their roles.
Just from these values and understating of the basic functions of Scrum, it is easy to see why many organizations adopt a hybrid Agile environment, blending the best of traditional PM methods and the more iterative approach that Agile affords.