Scrum, A New Way of Work | Byte Orbit
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Scrum, A New Way of Work

Written by: Natheer Langeveldt

18 December 2020

How we rolled out Scrum at Byte Orbit.

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Scrum, A New Way of Work

At Byte Orbit we are constantly reviewing our ways of work and increasing our knowledge, both as an organisation and individually. Resting on our laurels is highly discouraged, so much so that our CEO’s favourite quote “When you look back at yourself after a year you should not recognise yourself" takes up a large portion of one of our office walls!

 

With our rapid growth, both in team size and the complexity and nature of the projects we work on, focusing on our constantly improving internal processes has been high up on our agenda. One of the important steps we have taken this year is to bring on-board a dedicated Scrum Master - a role which, until now, has been largely fulfilled by our team of Product Owners - to ensure that our agile delivery process can scale and that we can maintain the amazing quality of output from our teams.

 

What is Scrum?

 

Not to be confused with the more commonly known rugby move (for which South Africa is proudly well-known), Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products. The official Scrum Guide contains the definition of Scrum, consisting of the Scrum events, artifacts, roles, and the regulations that bind them all together. The Scrum Guide serves as a framework which allows each organisation to come up with its own unique way of work, incorporated into the Scrum process. 

 

Some of the benefits of Scrum are: 

  • Transparency
  • Higher quality output
  • Higher productivity
  • Structured meetings
  • Client satisfaction
  • Better employee morale
  • Better user satisfaction 

The Scrum Guide is a free resource that can be accessed here.

 

 

There are 3 roles that make up a Scrum team, namely:

  • Scrum Master
  • Development Team
  • Product Owner

 

The Scrum Master plays a vital role in ensuring that agile teams deliver on their commitment for a two-week sprint. 

 

The Scrum Master assists the Product Owner with the following:

  • Finding techniques for effective Product Backlog management; 
  • Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items; 
  • Understanding product planning in an empirical environment; 
  • Ensuring the Product Owner knows how to arrange the Product Backlog to maximize value; 
  • Understanding and practicing agility; 
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed.  

The Scrum Master also plays a pivotal role in guiding the Development Team, including:

  • Coaching the Development Team in self-organization and cross-functionality; 
  • Helping the Development Team to create high-value products; 
  • Removing impediments to the Development Team’s progress; 
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed; and, 
  • Coaching the Development Team in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood.

Rolling out Scrum

 

At Byte Orbit, we have historically applied a unique hybrid agile/waterfall approach to digital product development. This approach was preferred due to the nature of the work and the nature of our clients at the time. With our projects growing in size and complexity, with multiple development streams, we recently made the decision to trial Scrum as an agile delivery method.

 

Although teams may have an understanding of Scrum, it is important to ensure that everyone understands the fundamentals. For teams going through an agile transformation, it is important to warm the teams to it, and first get the team’s feedback and buy-in. By trialling Scrum, it allows teams to get a sense of how effective it is, and the positive results that can be seen within the first couple of sprints.

 

As we were going through the motions of adopting the Scrum process, there was a lot of self-realisation from team members. The teams started using the prescribed time for scrum ceremonies (meetings) more effectively and started coming to meetings more prepared. 

 

The feedback from our teams regarding the Scrum process is that meetings are more effective, planning sessions are more structured, the Daily Scrum meetings give all team members an opportunity to speak about what they are working on and if they have any challenges. The process also allows the team to debrief, look at what they have delivered in the past two weeks, make process adjustments if required and celebrate achievements.

 

By fully embracing the Scrum process, we have witnessed an increase in transparency between team members and stakeholders. Quality of work has improved and team morale has increased. We’re looking forward to seeing the same results across all our projects as we continue this journey.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Scrum, check out www.scrum.org or scrumalliance.org. There are loads of great free resources out there to support your journey. Reach out to us on one of our social media channels if you’d like to learn more!