The Benefits of Scrum & Agile

There are many great reasons to use Scrum to become an Agile team or organization. Let’s take a look at the benefits of Scrum & Agile and see why Scrum works for all teams. We are so used to talking about development teams so that will be the focus of this post, but the reality is that Scrum & Agile can be used for any project with as much success. If you do not know what Scrum is, check out “what is Scrum” on scrum.org.

Benefits of Scrum & Agile

Key Benefits of Scrum & Agile

  • Quicker release of usable product to users and customers
  • Higher quality based on faster feedback
  • Faster iterations and release based on faster feedback loop
  • Better user satisfaction as the user has been part of the process since the project inception
  • More manageable project process as features are broken down into a more granular level
  • Higher productivity

Quicker Release of Usable Product to Users and Customers

In Scrum, work is done by the development team simultaneously rather than sequentially. Programmers are not waiting for a full spec and are able to develop iteratively (on the fly somewhat). This just in time type of developments means that not all questions need to be answered before any work can begin. Everything is much more flexible during the life cycle of the project. The same is true about testing as quality assurance is constantly done instead of at the end of the project.

Faster Feedback Loop

Faster Feedback Loop

With a faster feedback loop, the development team can develop and test features much faster with the stakeholders being able to accept the feature much faster. The days of scoping out a project for months to find out that your desired solutions does not meet business needs are long gone. Failing fast is an option, and a very good one. If you are going to fail, find out early and move on to the next solution.

Having this faster feedback loop with the proper stakeholders are one of the best benefits of Scrum & Agile. The user is more satisfied given that their feedback is heard early and often. 

Reasons Why Scrum Works

There are many reasons why Scrum works. We have talked about a bunch of them already. Let’s dive into the more procedural aspect of the entire Scrum process.

Adaptability

Changes are supported and integrated into a project currently in progress. In Scrum, the scope of the project is variable, but the time and cost are constants. The traditional approach of project management had the scope is being constant with the time and cost being variable.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is one of the major goals on a sprint-by-sprint basis. I like to get teams to strive for improving their velocity every 2-3 sprints as a team matures. Team members become accustomed to each other and the respective skills that team members bring to the table and the incoming backlog is more of a known commodity. Given these factors, teams should be looking to improve team performance and trying for stretch goals every few iterations.

Customer Satisfaction

Higher Customer Satisfaction

The user/customer is part of the process and with a fast feedback loop, the customer knows what they are getting so there are no surprises when a project is deployed.

Higher Team Morale

Of course, there is a ton of benefit to the team in addition to the sense of accomplishment for delivering a successful feature. Each iteration, the team knows what is coming and the commitment made to the sprint is something that the team contributed to. 

One of the things that I have told teams for years is that, if the team says that they can complete 20 story points in a sprint, the business cannot put 30 points into the sprint. Of course, the business can try, but that same 20 points team cannot complete 30 points without something changing – changes to the team or putting in more work. I can tell you that putting in more work is okay every once in a while, but the fastest way to destroy a team is to try to make them work at an  unsustainable pace for any length of time. This leads to burnout, and burnout turns into employee turnover.

Scrum vs Kanban vs Agile vs Waterfall

Decreased Time to Market

Scrum has proven to deliver value to the end customer 30-40% faster than traditional methods. Some of the reasons for this decrease in time are:

  • Waterfall projects have a huge upfront cost of extensive product specs and documentation. Scrum works in a “just in time” fashion for product requirements. This is a slippery slope though, because no requirements means inaccurate estimates.
  • Scrum allows our teams to focus on the higher priority items first.
  • Functionality is swarmed upon by the team to get each story to completion by sprint end. This avoids leaving QA 

Prioritization

One of the benefits of Scrum & Agile is that the highest priority requirements are separated from the lower priority items. Incrementally delivering value to the customer means that the higher value items can be delivered before lower valued items. This also allows our team to focus on the more risky aspects of the project early as well. 

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