Scrum is the most widely known Agile Methodology. More people are familiar with Scrum than any other Agile Methodology. Some people think Agile = Scrum but there are other methodologies, like Lean, XP, and others that work somewhat differently than Scrum does.
Scrum vs Waterfall
Let’s be real. Kanban works. Lean Works. Even Waterfall works – in the proper context. I think it was Jeff Sutherland, who said, “Scrum doesn’t fail any more than Chess fails.” There’s always a winner and a loser but the rules of Chess don’t fail. Same with Scrum. You either play by the rules or you don’t. But, when you play according to the rules, you will reap the benefits of the Scrum methodology.
We all know waterfall projects. They are sequential with long project cycles and you don’t see the customer feedback of the product until very late in the process. Usually around Alpha or Beta when you release a product to test. It works best when you know everything about a process and don’t need to worry too much about the chaos factor.
In Scrum, or agile, we focus on smaller, vertical slices of the project and do those in shorter iterations for faster delivery and review times Scrum works best when you’re doing Research & Development or market research related to a software product. Scrum works very well in the face of uncertainty. It also works well when you have a product road-map.
Benefits of Scrum will include but are not limited to:
Better Product Quality
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Most of these benefits come simply from the process itself. The Scrum process is designed to foster short, concise time-boxed cycles that focus on high priority customer requirements and include customer and stakeholder reviews earlier more quickly during the process.
Better Product Quality
You will have better product quality if you’re checking in with your customers and stakeholders for evolving requirements during sprint reviews because they will be able to determine more quickly whether the software matches their needs. When it’s not meeting their needs, you have the chance to pivot and change directions much earlier and much faster than in a waterfall project.
Sprints are the time-boxed cadence of the Scrum framework. The industry standard is typically 2-week cycles for these sprints. That means you will show your product to your customers and stakeholders much earlier and far more frequently than in a typical waterfall project that might take 9 months to 2 years to complete.
Faster ROI comes from delivering quality products that the customers can use in a shorter time frame. Take TurboTax, rather than focus on software for all states and federal income at once, like a waterfall project might do, they break it down. Scrum would have them focus focus fist on the federal income tax return that everyone needs and then later on a key state or a small group of states. Every Sprint allows you to review and pivot depending on the feedback from customers and stakeholders.
For instance, during the first Sprints they would focus on building the federal tax software. At the end of each Sprint, they would have the chance for customer feedback on that product. They also would get to see if people wanted to use it and were willing to pay for it. After that, in subsequent Sprints they might build modules for another state or states based on demand or population. Incrementally, they would fully build out software covering the entire US tax structure, both federal and state. Building out one state’s tax software at a time allows them to get their product into the hands of customers and start earning money earlier.
More Control and Reduced Risk
Projects are more controlled because they are time-boxed and everyone knows what task they have to do. When used properly, Scrum allows everyone in the project from customer to stakeholder, from developer to Scrum Master to know what they are doing and when it should be done. Teams communicate and collaborate daily so there are less unknowns or crises that pop up out of nowhere. Because you are working together more effectively through collaboration in Scrum, and are more focused, you will see reduced risk to the project.
In Scrum, cycle times are far shorter than on waterfall projects, often just 2 weeks to a month. If something is not going well, communication to stakeholders and customers occurs much more quickly even if only at the end of the sprint and this allows the team to pivot into corrective action far faster. One of the issues often felt on projects is called the ‘caterpillar dilemma’. This is when the customer doesn’t really know what they want, or can’t define it clearly, until we give them something to judge. In Scrum, the Sprint Reviews allow this dilemma to be resolved more quickly. This helps reduce risk and create higher customer satisfaction, and faster ROI.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Business Value are Customer Satisfaction are two big wins with Scrum. This is due to the fact that you have the potential for delivering real value in as quickly as two weeks! Starting at end of the very first Sprint, the customer is interacting with the product and giving feedback. This continues through the life of the project. Features and enhancements are driven much more by customers in Scrum which ultimately leads to a better product. Better products = happier customers. Another win stemming from regular customer engagement in the process is that customers feel deeply involved with the product - and even champion it - because they are helping to build it. This makes Scrum development a winner for both improved business value and customer satisfaction.
Scrum projects are found to deliver to market 37% faster than waterfall according to ApiumHub.
Scrum delivers faster projects, with better quality software, has faster ROI for the business and has proven more successful than Waterfall projects year after year. Give it a try! We know you will see improvements in the delivery of your projects!