Recently, we have decided to use media for explaining Scrum in a simple way. Indeed, we used a true story based on our experience for this purpose. Also, we used motion graphic media for transferring the concept, because videos have the most impact. So here the result; the motion graphic and also its transcript:
A few years ago
We were three colleagues with many big dreams. A few years ago, a manager from the oil and gas industry had told us if we developed special software, most oil companies would be our customer and we would earn a huge amount of money.
Since we were really energetic, we just started to develop that software. We rented an office and went into a cave for two years. Even we hired a few developers to produce high quality and perfect software with all required features.
Month after month was coming and we had to pay the expenses. I remember, in a case for having a great and perfect user access management, we used two months.
Came out of the cave
Finally, after two years, we came out of the cave and showed our perfect product to the first customer.
Unbelievably, they said they didn’t need that product. We thought and supposed they didn’t understand our work. So, we went to the second customer and unfortunately their answer was also no. The third, the fourth, the fifth, and so to the end.
It was horrible and like the end of the world. We had wasted a lot of money and even we had to release our developers.
Not only we lost too much money, we missed a lot of opportunities and also two years of our lives.
Nothing is worse than producing a perfect product that nobody wants.
What was the problem?
There are many similar cases in the software industry. We asked ourselves what happened and thought about it deeply.
The fact was that all things that we had thought were certain were only our thoughts not the facts of the customers. Indeed, there were a lot of things in our project which we already didn’t know. So, how could we resolve and handle them?
When we thought, we found out that we should have collaborated with our customers from the beginning of the project. We should have produced the most valuable features first, delivered to them, and got feedback. With this policy, we could have corrected our way.
We found out Scrum
While we were checking and reviewing our mistakes, we found out a new way of working for developing software products, which was called Scrum.
Amazingly, in that new approach, there were answers for almost all issues that we had already faced through our project.
In this method, projects with a lot of uncertainties, that some of their aspects are not known upfront are called complex projects.
Then it says complex projects can fail because of many reasons. So, it is designed in a way that can reveal problems as soon as possible within which the team is able to realize the problems and consequently adapts itself with new learnings.
You may ask how? Ok, let’s look at this new way of working.
The essence of Scrum
The essence of Scrum is producing a small chunk of the product and delivering it to customers in order to get feedback.
This feedback helps the team to correct and adapt its way. This approach is repeated as many times as required until all valid chunks of the product be produced and delivered to customers.
Scrum has some red lines. For example, regardless of the product and context, each iteration should not last more than one calendar month. In Scrum, each iteration is called Sprint.
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Deal with requirements and features
In this framework, all requirements and features are collected in a list, which is called Product Backlog. Then, they are ordered by their value by someone whose role is Product Owner. At the beginning of each Sprint, the Development Team selects some features from the top of the Product Backlog to develop during the Sprint. At the end of the Sprint, those features should be shippable and releasable. Why?
Because they should be delivered to customers for getting feedback. This is the core concept of the story.
When you have to get feedback from the customers, if you made mistakes, you would find them out within a month at most, not two years.
Well, the result is obvious. Correcting the way and escaping from those mistakes and failures before they can destroy your whole business.
The Scrum Master
Scrum has really few elements, while like a chess game, being a master of it is fundamentally difficult. For this reason, another role has added to Scrum, which is called the Scrum Master.
This person is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum process implementation. He or she continuously helps and teaches the team to work professionally in the Scrum framework.
All three mentioned roles, namely the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team together create the Scrum Team.
Today’s world super-fast changes
By limiting each Sprint’s duration to one month, a powerful mechanism has been created to deal with today’s world super-fast changes.
These changes contain requirements changes, customer desire, technology, and business changes.
Each change based on our response can be an opportunity or a threat for us. Fortunately, if we use Scrum properly most changes potentially can be opportunities.
Creativity has a special position in Scrum. Because it’s the tool to deal with unknowns. Who knows what the next year Apple smartphones look like?
If Apple always produces its previous version of smartphones, can it survive in smartphones’ competitive market? All of us saw how Nokia Company went bankrupt.
Finally, I should admit, if we knew Scrum at that time in our project, we may have realized our wrong way within two months at most.
Now based on our real heavy failure, we deeply know how Scrum is valuable, which we believe is a fundamental tool for all companies that produce complex products and services and they should not miss it at all.
If the story is familiar to you, do not postpone Scrum learning to tomorrow.
Welcome to Scrum world
Scrum.org is the home of Scrum. You can find a huge amount of knowledge there.