The literal meaning of the word ‘Agile’ is ‘agile’ or ‘changeable’. In project management, Agile stands for a not sharply defined group of methods that try to give substance to the Agile principles. The principles are laid down in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. A number of generic characteristics of Agile are: iterative development, working deliverables, direct communication and self-managing teams.
The project is divided into manageable parts, these are called iterations. With each iteration, part of the project’s goal, the deliverable, is delivered. Due to the short duration of the iterations, a good overview of the project remains, limiting the risks of project failure.
Emphasis is placed on a successful deliverable that can be used by the organization at the end of the project.
Direct communication is important. Personal contact is preferred over written reporting. In general, little written documentation is produced in Agile projects.
Competent project employees are deployed who can bear joint responsibility in a team.
What Scrum means
Scrum is an Agile method based on principles. It falls under the Agile software development. Here too, the project is divided into iterations, only it is called ‘sprints’ in Scrum instead of iterations. The sprints are shorter than the iterations, they usually last two to a maximum of four weeks. It can also happen that a sprint lasts only a week. The scrum method is often used when the customer does not yet know exactly what he wants. During the project, the wishes of the customer become clear and adapted.
Engaged team members
The short sprints exclude the risks of long-term projects in which results are only visible after a long time. Progress remains transparent and thanks to the flexible working method, it is possible to switch quickly. There are short lines and the team members are very involved. Work is transparent and it is best if the team members work in one room and are fully committed to the project.
Input for the work in a sprint is called the backlog, also known as the to-do list for the sprint. This sprint backlog is no longer changed, but because the sprint never lasts long, it is not a big problem. The total to-do list of the project is also known as product backlog.
Daily stand up
Every day, preferably at the start of the working day, the team has a short work meeting to discuss and resolve any bottlenecks. Because this is a short consultation, it will be held. The consultation usually takes no longer than fifteen minutes. If there are major issues that require more time, a separate meeting will be scheduled. There is a scrum master who supervises the consultation, but otherwise the team is self-managing. This means that the team members take on tasks independently and do not wait until they receive an assignment.
The role of the Scrum master
He helps the team members by ensuring that the correct process is followed. The scrum master also arranges the meetings, workspace and the necessary software. A scrum master is not a project manager because he does not interfere with personnel matters such as selection and assessment of people.
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