My first project with Scrum

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Image from http://www.3news.co.nz

Introduction

I’ve been working on a new project for the last few months. I worked with two external developers on this project. One of them has experience as Scrum master so the team decided to use Scrum as the methodology in the project.
I’d read a lot about Scrum and I’d applied some practices in the past but I’d never used Scrum by the book.

In this blog I’ve written a summary about my experience using Scrum in a project that was built from scratch.

I’m not going to talk about the practices of Scrum, so if you want to know more, a good place is:

http://www.scrumguides.org/

you can find there the official guide of Scrum in many languages.

Pros

  • Retrospectives really work. Every retro helped us to discover the problems in the sprint and to solve them. For example, part of the team didn’t work at the office and that caused communication problems. The communication improved thanks to the retros and the actions that we took in each one.
  • Team building. We spoke a lot, and because of all the meetings we knew each other and came together as a team. I was new in the company and I didn’t know my colleagues nor the external developers. I believe we made a good team in few months due to the scrum practices.
  • The product’s design is understood for each member of the team. In this case, sprint meetings allowed us to understand the whole design of the application. That could also improved the design because many decisions were taken together.

 

Cons

  • Scrum can be used as a tool for micromanaging the team. That could happen when dailies and retros are done in the wrong way. Dailies would just be about the status of each story and retros would just be about checking estimations in detail. It didn’t happen but I realized how a person could transform scrum into something ineffective.
  • Feedback in the last part of the project. We did an acceptance test after the development had finished where most of the company participated and we received a lot of feedback. I see this like a negative thing because we couldn’t transform the feedback into new features. Our sprints were two weeks long and the last day of each sprint we did a demo where all the people involved in the product attended, including the people who gave us feedback in the acceptance test.

I’d like to add that we could apply the use of Scrum better because, for example, we had to write documents and other tasks after the development had finished and they should have been included in the project.
Furthermore, our main problem was that we didn’t have a product owner and a colleague had to play that role. I believe the highest benefit of Scrum and other Agile methodologies is that the value is maximize and due to the fact that we didn’t have a proper product owner that benefits were decreased.

The next blog explains the meaning of value very well:

http://ronjeffries.com/xprog/articles/value-is-what-you-like/

The same writer has just released a book with the title “the nature of software development” and is amazing. It has a little more than 100 pages that explains in the most clear way possible what software development is about. I’ve read it recently and it´s a really nice book.

Recap

I’m happy with the end result of the project although we could do it better . I love how Scrum practices allow us to improve the team performance and the development process.

Scrum doesn’t have development practices and I miss them because developing an incremental and iterative product without them is very hard. For example, TDD and continuous integration.
So, in regards to development practices XP is better than Scrum because it includes many practices for us, programmers.

* 22-06-2015 Solved grammar error