Scrum framework is an approach taken from Agile management and created to manage software development teams. The team size is limited and doesn't have to reach more than nine people (usually 3-9 members). The project development flow divided into small pieces, such as two or three weeks sprints (some could call it iterations), and the entire work usually take a month to complete. It is one of the main approaches that lead to conclude new software features every two or four weeks following the principles on how to deliver in time and following the quality regulations.
Scrum is the type of behavior model and interactions between the whole team structure appropriate for all kinds of projects. It is widely used by software development and marketing teams to launch new products against uncertainty. All participants have to function as the unit to produce regular performance within the dynamic environment. The main thing to provide worthwhile and compelling work is transparent communication on every step of the development process.
Here we want to explore the leading roles in Scrum Team to provide clear communication and stable workflow.
The Product owner is mainly responsible for the business part and performs between team and stakeholders. He understands the business needs, gathers the primary requirements, plans the project workflow, works with the backlog, gathers feedbacks, negotiates with the stakeholders. The one product owner is the core representative of the whole development process implemented within the straight timeline.
The Scrum Master assists in the establishment of an Agile mindset: follow the Scrum principles, apply adjustments, resolve conflicts, and misunderstandings. The Scrum master is the chief negotiator between the team and possible issues prevented from the proper performance in the working environment.
More about Scrum Master's responsibilities read here: 6 Key Team Development Tips Each Scrum Master Should Know.
The Development team. This team usually consists of technical team members (web and mobile developer), designers, QA engineers. Sometimes the marketing department could join the Scrum team for empowering analytical market researches, providing market analysis, and helping with building a marketing strategy. The development team is responsible for the straight timeline delivery following the initial requirements. Every participant is like a separate performance specialist with equal rights and straight responsibility in case of any failures.
The scrum framework follows the specific structure. The central unit is the sprint or iteration, which is limited to a particular time. The usual sprint duration discussed before the development process and mostly followed by two weeks. Depending on the project complexity, it could last for one month, but generally, two weeks are enough.
Before the development process could start, the Scrum team manages sprint planning. It requires to define the scope of work and the expected time needed to complete all tasks. If there are some additional tasks unable to complete within the sprint, they are added to the product backlog.
Every day te Scrum team arranges stand up meetings which last no more than fifteen minutes. The main idea is to share the tasks implemented, reveal the possible difficulties, make suggestions, estimate the progress, ask questions. All members are participating actively and welcome to share their ideas.
At the end of each iteration, it comes to come up with the results and release. Sprint review summarizes the work done and shares the final result to stakeholders. During the sprint review, together with stakeholders, team members reveal the main scope for the next weeks and decide what needs to complete within that time. The general time required for sprint review is two hours, and it is usually enough for open discussions and minds sharing.
Sprint retrospective provides in a team circle only without stakeholders. During the sprint review, there might be any open calls and discussions, but retrospective is to measure success inside the team. All members are working on the in-depth analysis and reveal all of the ups and downs they've faced.
Cross-functionality in a team formed the list of benefits that influenced on the development process. According to the personal usage of the Scrum framework, we noticed more improvements than negatives. Among the most visible here you can check out some:
Implementing quick testing. Required specialist in a one team helpful in revealing the possible issues straight away. The unit can follow the general path of development stages and remove gaps or fix problems within a single iteration.
Transparent relationships. Communication is the core thing in building trustworthy relationships. Sometimes a lack of straight questions to clarify requirements lead to misunderstanding in a team that influences on the development performance. Regular activities engage people betters, break the ice between some members, and adopt newcomers quickly. The usual person responsible for events is the Scrum master. Nevertheless, the Product owner could also involve people in similar engagements.
Read more about the engagement activities we've implemented in the article: The Main Engagement Activities We Use to Boost the Teams' Productivity.
Continuous delivery process. The Scrum team can fulfill the whole development cycle and define possible difficulties on-time. This lead to a low level of risks to fail deadline and omit issues.
Equal responsibilities. Everyone is responsible for the complete result and final performance. The main advantage of the Scrum framework is to prolong a respectful culture between all team members with no matter the years of experience. For example, a Junior developer could express his opinion on the stand-up meetings and suggest a possible winning solution. Team Lead's view will be more relevant, but for Junior, it will be a challenging experience and steps for personal growth. Such stages as sprint planning and retrospective are helpful in the development of the ability to listen to each other and participate in the discussion.
The leading thing teams are starting to follow the Scrum framework is the desire to create a "dream team." A few years ago, our team was also on the primary point of changes and a strong desire to form the best possible cross-functional team. The main reason was to improve the product development cycle and create a comfortable environment for both stakeholders and employees. Here we want to share insights from our experience, which could help to ensure everything and everyone is on board the right way.
Build the product roadmap. The relevant team without proper planning, goals, and product vision is impossible to exist. The road map could be continuously updated and revised following the feedbacks and insights. Asking team members to participate in building the product road map is the following advantage.
Create a team's backlog. The team has to know the expected result and understand all of the requirements made towards them. Every engagement activities motivate them to work effectively and follow the further path of growth. We suggest involving a team in creating and prioritizing the backlog. Sometimes we also include stakeholders, but usually when the delay is ready, and we have something to share.
The low level of external dependencies leads to cross-functional balance. We suggest excluding dependencies as it will lower the level of possible failures because of the absence of QA experts, UI segments, or even substance interpretations.
The balanced team structure rises product development effectiveness. It usually happened to have several QA engineers on one project or a team of Junior developers only. Some days it could lead to unexpected failure. The real cross-functionality is possible to achieve when the number of team members and their skills appropriates to the project complexity. In the Scrum framework, one individual handles the exact piece of work and shows an effective result.
Create an Agile environment in the company. Everything above-mentioned about the Scrum framework advantages, and the dos of cross-functionality in the team is useless when your employees are working in a non-Agile environment. At the very first step, educate the responsible people about all Agile principles and start implementing Scrum step-by-step in your team.
The primary measure of successfully implemented cross-functionality is satisfied customers. Every stakeholder wants to be engaged in the development process and interact with the team regularly. Daily meetings and regular calls encourage them to feel involved. Similar goes to the employees. They are more determined to work in a live environment and be in touch with customers.
For our team, the Scrum framework is a winning solution, which helped to improve the development processes. We hope that given information eased to understand how cross-functionality works and how to implement it in the company.