Agile... it's a bit of a buzz word. Most commonly referenced in relation to project management, especially within software development, agile is characterised by the division of tasks into short sprints of work with regular assessment and adaptation and incremental releases of work. For every business that employs this methodology, there is a new way of using it most effectively. So, what's our flavour and what do we mean when we talk about agile?
Well, we've developed this handy infographic to explain it all. Prefer reading text (who are you??)? We've included the content below for you.
One word of warning... there are a whole lot of two-letter abbreviations.
Who are your scrum team?
Product Owners (POs) are the champions for the product/solution. Responsible for driving the project vision and managing the product backlog to achieve this. Your Digital Producer (DP) represents the PO internally. The DP manages information between the development team and PO. The PO & DP will focus on ensuring the development team delivers the most value to the business.
The Scrum Master is the champion for agile scrum within the team and ensures that the team apply scrum best practices. Responsible for solving any distractions, problems, blockers that the team may face in the process of producing the product. Also responsible for guiding the team and scheduling work, facilitating meetings, communication and removing impediments.
The development team is a cross-functional team who work together to realise the product. Team members are also responsible for identifying the complexity of tasks and allocating efforts against these to complete the work in sprints. Scrum teams are the champions for sustainable development practices and drive the plan for a sprint.
Day to day, how does it work?
The agile scrum backlog is a list of features, with descriptions of the desired functionality in the product. The backlog is created by the DP from the work done in discovery with the PO, which the development team groom to estimate and provide information on implementing each feature. In sprint planning meetings, the DP and the development team work together to focus on prioritisation and agree a sprint goal. The development team will then own the sprint and work with the team to meet this goal.
Daily Stand Up
Stand up is a daily meeting, designed to quickly inform everyone of what’s going on across the team. These are quick meetings with essential information only, no longer than 15 mins. There are 3 points for the team at stand-up:
- What we got through yesterday.
- What we’re working on today.
- Any blockers affecting our sprint.
The scrum master will work to remove any blocker for the team following stand up.
How does planning work?
Sprint planning takes place at the start of the sprint. The DP will come to the meeting with their prioritised backlog. They discuss each item with the development team, and the group collectively estimates the effort involved. The development team will then make a sprint forecast outlining how much work the team can complete from the product backlog. That body of work then becomes the sprint backlog.
Sprint review meetings take place at the end of the sprint. The DP and development team meet with the PO to showcase the completed work of the team. This is the time for the team to celebrate their accomplishments, demonstrate work finished within the sprint, and get immediate feedback from the client.
The sprint retrospective is a meeting facilitated by the Scrum Maste, during which the team discusses the just-concluded sprint and determines what could be changed that might make the next sprint more productive.
- What went well in the sprint?
- What didn’t go so well?
- What would we like to try / introduce in the next sprint?
The sprint retrospective is an important part of the scrum process, as it allows a team to continuously evolve and improve throughout the lifecycle of a project.
How do we manage this?
- The PO and DP work closely together from project win to launch and beyond, to ensure that the goals and project requirements are met within budget and on time.
- DPs will flag any change to requirements and/or progress, both internally and externally as risks to the project, whereby there may be impact on budget timeline.
- DPs are there for the PO to advise and guide on the product, with knowledge of best practices, recommendations on latest innovations, and expertise in Project Management.
- Daily stand ups should be quick meetings which start on time - 15 mins max
- The prioritised backlog must be ready for sprint planning meetings
- Once a sprint has started, the goal cannot change & no additional requirements can be added
- The DP decides the sprint goal with the PO
- The development team own the sprint - not the PO
- Retrospectives are an open forum to discuss as a team, the best ways to constantly refine and improve performance
We use a number of tools to coordinate our daily scrum work:
- Google - We used cloud based Google apps to manage our data storage, collaboration & communication with our clients.
- Atlassain JIRA - JIRA is our main project and issue-tracking platform used by the development team in every bit of work we do.
- Gantt Pro - GanttPro is our additional project planning tool which lets us create structured charts which illustrate each project lifecycle timeline.
- Trello - Trello is another project management tool the D.P team use to track project work and essential tasks with our clients and keep our work moving along nicely.
- Agency Core - Agency Core is an online business tracking tool designed exclusively for creative agencies which lets us manage all of our work on a cloud based platform.
And, that's it in a nutshell. Check out our other blogs to go into some of these areas in more detail.