Digital product development: why the Scrum method is so efficient
Looking for fast time to market and higher quality in digital products? Try agile! You've probably heard the term “agile” before or even apply the tools of agile methods. That's a good place to start. But there is more.
4 min read•17 Aug 2023
Not all agile is the same. For one thing, there are several agile methods. Scrum is the best in my opinion, because unlike other agile methods like Kanban or Crystal, Scrum has clearly defined roles, events, and artifacts. Furthermore, Scrum is unbeatable in terms of flexibility when entering the market, because: At the end of each sprint (=1 to 4 weeks) there is an increment (=a product that could be released).
But in principle, what makes agile product development is not the choice of method, but the mindset of how to approach projects on the whole.
While the rules and tools of Scrum (or other methodologies) are relatively easy to learn, mastering an agile mindset requires more time and effort. At Mindnow, we believe that agile working only works effectively when you embrace agile thinking as a whole.
Decisions based on information
Scrum's particular set of rules allows us to make decisions based on the best available information. It's all about teamwork, collaboration and frequent feedback. Communication instead of guesswork - the best condition for continuous improvement of a product!
Central to this are the roles within the Scrum team. To embed an agile mindset from project start to finish, we proactively train our team members to get the most out of their respective roles.
The roles in the Scrum team
Basically, the efficiency and quality of the Scrum team's work is due to these 3 roles:
A product owner, who makes sure that the right product is built
The development team that develops the product in the right way
A Scrum Master who brings everyone together
Product Owner: Understanding the Business
The Product Owner is responsible for understanding the business of our partners for whom we develop products and the needs of their users. He or she "translates" customer needs into actionable requirements for the development team and gives clear instructions on what they need to do and in what order. This ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal and that the project is always moving in the right direction.
The ultimate goal of the PO is to maximize the value delivered. It is a very strategic role that is critical to the success of the project.
The development team is responsible for delivering a "potentially shippable increment" of the product at the end of each sprint. At Mindnow, this is usually a team of 5-10 professionals with different skills and knowledge.
Our development teams are cross-functional and self-organized. There is no hierarchy and everyone has the same rights and responsibilities. The product owner is always by the developers' side, but they decide how to work together, achieve their goals and ultimately add value.
Scrum Master: Agile thinking in the team
At Mindnow, the Scrum Master's role is to ensure that Scrum values, practices and rules are followed. This role is less about the product and more about the people. As a "servant leader," the Scrum Master allows everyone to shine in their role and master agile thinking within the team. He or she ensures that the team can work without unnecessary interruptions and focus on the right things.
The Scrum Master also addresses issues as early as possible and helps those who are not part of the Scrum team understand how agile thinking works.
All of these roles were defined in the Agile Manifesto, which was created in 2001 by a group that wanted to improve the way they worked on software development. The manifesto states that the success of a team depends on 5 values: commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect. When the whole team lives these values, the Scrum pillars of transparency, control and alignment are activated and build trust.
In our experience at Mindnow, these values are the most important:
Prioritizing people and communication over strict adherence to processes and tools (even though Scrum itself is quite a prescriptive method).
Products that add value to the needs of partners and end users over perfect documentation
Immediate response to new challenges instead of rigid adherence to a fixed plan
Trustful cooperation at eye level with our partners
What advantage does Scrum have for you?
Transparency: I believe that Scrum is the project management approach that is best suited to make product development transparent - for our team and our partners alike.
Productivity: With clearly defined roles and responsibilities, each team member knows exactly what they are responsible for and what is expected of them. The Scrum Master ensures that the team can focus and be maximally productive. And our partners always know what to expect from a sprint.
Quality: You can be sure that your project is managed by experts who not only follow rules, but live the agile methodology. This leads to more effective communication, more streamlined and efficient development processes, and ultimately high-quality digital products.
Conclusion: Clear recommendation for Scrum
Scrum promotes a clear distribution of roles, regular communication and short, fixed time frames, which leads to better team collaboration, continuous feedback and faster progress. This structured framework increase efficiency and is therefore a recommended method choice for a digitization project.
Be aware, however, that choosing a method does not make an agile way of working. Because ultimately, the real strength of Scrum is not just the structured framework, but the agile mindset of the Scrum team pulling together. Only if we as a team are constantly in dialog and keep the common project goal in mind, we can quickly respond to changing requirements and make adjustments. That is agile product development!