Agile methodology and sprints
When it comes to project management, the agile concept of organizing work has been a buzzword for decades. This process is used to lead a team of professionals to a specific goal and is a widely known term. Governments use it, multinational companies use it - and yes, startups, scale-ups and digital agencies like Mindnow use it too. What makes us different are the specifics and approaches we take, and the best practices we incorporate into our daily work. It's a colorful mix of tools, literature, certifications, seminars, and workshops that make our lives easier and ensure we complete our projects on time, on scope, and on budget.
When Agile emerged about 20 years ago, it promised better solutions for software development projects than its older counterpart, the waterfall model. The two differ mostly (but not only) in terms of quality and testing - the Agile methodology promises to develop things as you go, using an iterative and flexible approach. More specifically, a project is divided into sprints rather than phases. This makes it possible to make regular changes and scope adjustments. So far, no alternatives have been found that are as effective and efficient as Agile. Only different frameworks, i.e. approaches, have been developed for it. Here at Mindnow, we use the widely used Scrum framework.
With the introduction of Scrum came a number of new terms, such as backlog, velocity, timeboxing, planning poker, antipatterns, and so on. Seem Spanish to you? Don't worry, you're not alone - all these terms sound familiar but can become confusing in a work environment. For this reason, Agile and Scrum seem a bit mysterious at first glance, but the whole thing isn't that difficult. Learn more about the basics of Scrum.
The daily work routine of a Scrum Master
If you're a people person, there's probably no better way to thrive in a position than in the role of Scrum Master. The role is critical to the well-being of the team. The agile methodology allows the role of the project manager (who in traditional project management takes care of the customer and the team at the same time) to be split into two distinct roles: Product Owner and Scrum Master.
To acquire a comprehensive knowledge of this project management method, one can consult the Scrum Guide. This explains all the important Scrum terminology. The most important points to remember:
Scrum Team: At Mindnow this usually consists of: FrontEnd, BackEnd Dev, QA Tester, Product Owner & Scrum Master (Designers and Business Analysts are not part of the Scrum Team); the Product Owner takes care of the customer and the product (User Stories, Backlog) and the Scrum Master takes care of the team and makes sure that Agile and Scrum are followed throughout the organization.
Scrum Events: Daily Stand-Ups (Daily 15 minute event dedicated to the Dev Scrum Team resulting in an actionable plan for the day). Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospectives are events that happen at the end of the sprint (at Mindnow this happens every two weeks, meaning the sprint duration is two weeks); they all serve their purpose - some are just for the team, while others are planned with the customer.
Scrum Artifacts: The most important Scrum Artifact is the Backlog. This list of prioritized requirements contains brief descriptions of all the functionality the customer wants developed; the Product Owner is the de facto owner of this backlog. It must be revised as often as the project requires. Since the sprint at Mindnow lasts two weeks, backlog grooming takes place about one week into the sprint. This is the time when we look at the tasks that will come up in the following sprint.
In our Mindnow ecosystem, our customers receive first-class service and a 360° overview of project, sprints and tasks. We are convinced that transparency is the ultimate success factor for a qualitative end product. Therefore, we are also happy to offer our help in understanding Agile, Scrum and the tools we use in our daily work.