Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Agile/Scrum: Introduction

"Agile" and "Scrum" have become blurry buzzwords too many people.  They speak of "sprint that" or "scrum this" and all too often it is a misapplication of the concept.

This is a bad thing if we are talking about Agile/Scrum software development, because the more you stray from the concept, the more likely you are to break it and end up with mediocre results.  To avoid this, we first need to understand Agile/Scrum.

For Reference - Waterfall

Agile/Scrum an alternative, and some would say successor, to "Waterfall".  The name waterfall comes from the process steps themselves.  You do *all* of step 1; then fall down to step 2; then fall down to step 3, etc.; until you have finished your product.  The waterfall communicates that you don't return to your previous steps.

Some folks have modified this to have some iteration back to previous steps.  In contrast to Waterfall, Agile/Scrum basically mashes those steps together, slices them up into bite-sizes pieces and iterates like crazy.  That is a gross oversimplification, so read on.

Basic Training - Scrum Training Series

I am a big fan of the Scrum Training Series videos created by Michael James.  They walk you through the important concepts in six bite-sized videos that range in length from 9 to 17 minutes in length and they:
  • Cover the important points and key activities
  • Present some great visual analogies for the key concepts
  • Point out stylistic choices you can make to tailor your process
I highly recommend them.  They have served my team members very well.

If you watch only one video, watch the Introduction to Scrum.

Which is Better?

Some people say Agile/Scrum is superior regardless, some way Waterfall is necessary in certain special cases; I am not arguing that right now.  However, I am of the mind that Agile/Scrum, when executed properly, is more likely to produce a better product for the customer/market as efficiently or more efficiently than Waterfall.

Please watch the videos and stay tuned.

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