Scrum consists of principles, roles, ceremonies, and artifacts, which are elements focused heavily on the development team and day to day activities. Customers and
Stakeholders and customers may simply contribute with needs, wants, and feedback but Scrum is all about delivering for the customers and stakeholders.
Scrum is an organisational change designed to serve all the way up the chain from the basement where the hands on work is being done, all the way up to the penthouse offices where decision makers and end users meet to assess and utilise new developments.
The most powerful aspect of Scrum is showing the actual product to stakeholders and customers. Scrum is a bold method for any organisation to embrace, or even consider, the concept of no promises of deliverables and deadlines met before a period of work has been paid for and completed. Stakeholders want to know what they are getting and when, before they sign on the dotted line or hand over any cash, traditionally stakeholders like to be promised something will be delivered on time and at a set budget, based on the guess of a salesperson solely focused on winning the contract.
Most organisations that are introduced to Scrum have come from the world of Waterfall project management, frustrated with the broken promises and failed delivery. Scrum is often met with skepticism as clients reasonably cannot believe a smaller team with a slimmer budget can deliver more and sooner than a larger and more expensive team can.
Scrum is built on the premise of iterations that each conclude with a potentially shippable version of a product. Presenting more graphs and charts to an already skeptical client would only make a client more suspicious that something was afoot, while Scrum offers something more valuable than these inconsequential distractions – a working product. The power of the demo allows development teams and stakeholders to meet on a regular basis to share progress and ensure direction is maintained and adjusted as necessary.
Scrum relies on a period of effort to identify a teams initial velocity, followed by a number of iterations and team reflection to identify areas where the team can increase velocity and accelerate performance in delivery. The initial sprint allows a stakeholder to see how productive a given team is, and the sprints that follow should show a change in velocity with each iteration giving a more accurate overall picture of when a product is likely to be delivered.
A little bit of patience and investment is all that it takes to assess whether it is worth continuing to fund a development project, and a far better model than the traditional ‘hit and hope’ where the entire project is funded and committed to in the belief that someone can see the future.
Scrum is for the stakeholders, it is not designed for the developers. Developers use the method to better serve the stakeholders in regular assessment check-ins where stakeholders are given the information available at the time to make decisions going forward.