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Scrum Master in an Agile World

Scrum Master in an Agile World

At Brand Lounge, we deeply understand the immense power of creativity.  It is integral to our growth and the success of our clients. Embarking on a creative endeavor is an energy rich process that must be harnessed correctly in order to spark a new, previously unseen thought or for an idea significantly different from the past to come into existence.

Since creative power is an energy flow, having the ability and power to manifest a creative idea is an art.  The collaborative nature of a well managed team allows individuals from diverse backgrounds to combine their expertise, experiences and perspectives in a conducive environment for knowledge, passion and understanding to openly interact.

Ideas surrounding the best methodology to achieve maximum performance within an organization continue to be developed and exchanged over time, but one of the greatest enduring concepts is that of Agile software development.

What is Agile Software Development?

Rooted in the 1950’s but rising to main-stream prominence in the tech boom of the 1990’s, Agile is a collection of software development methods that evolved as a response to the need for rapid, flexible and adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery and continuous improvement.  It focuses on the collaboration of self-organizing, cross-functional teams, rather than an overarching sole manager.

Agile was originally implemented in software development in direct opposition to the ‘waterfall’ methodology of sequential development, asserting that if software was developed like an automobile on an assembly line, it would take so long that the technology would be considered old before it was even fully finished.

However, the Agile techniques can be applied to the development of non-software products and to the general management sphere.  Agile Business Management is particular relevant to the fields of strategy, governance, risk and finance.

Scrum Product Development – An Agile Software Development Framework

Scrum is a product development strategy based on the Agile Software Development Framework.  First defined in 1986 by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka, it is a form of, ‘organizational knowledge creation’, that brings about, ‘innovation continuously, incrementally and spirally’, to increase speed and flexibility in product development.

The name Scrum, was originally derived from the rugby term for the tight-packed formation of players with their heads down, attempting to gain possession of the ball.  It mirrors the structure of one cross-functional team performing multiple overlapping phases, trying ‘to go the distance as a unit, passing the ball back and forth’.

The Scrum Workflow

As opposed to traditional sequential development like the example of the car assembly line, Scrum focuses on an iterative and incremental approach of repetitive, abbreviated work cycles.  These ‘sprints’ allows teams to work seamlessly for two weeks before re-evaluating the progress and direction of the project.  Two weeks is seen as an ideal frame of time to achieve work but also steer the project in another direction if necessary.

The Members of a Scrum Team

The Scrum framework highlights three core roles that represent the scrum team:

  • The Product Owner: performs the core communication function, ensuring the team delivers value to the stakeholders.
  • The Development Team: made up of 3-9 individuals, they are responsible for the actual work and delivering the product goals at the end of each sprint.
  • The Scrum Master: is responsible for removing impediments that may prevent the team delivering the product goals and deliverables.

How Does a Scrum Master Differ from a Traditional Manager?

The function of the scrum master varies from traditional team leader or project manager, because their role is merely to act as a buffer and ensure the smooth implementation of the scrum framework.  They do not get involved in people management responsibilities, scrum masters are purely present to facilitate the product development process.

Why is Scrum Important for the Creative Process?

The Scrum Framework provides a ripe and flexible environment for individuals to organize themselves in the most conducive way to reach a common goal.

Innovation requires creative freedom and interaction, but client deadlines also require a pre-defined time frame.  Scrum unites these two diverse notions in an approach that increases the speed and flexibility of product development whilst also maximizing space for creativity.

We practice a scrum mentality at Brand Lounge and it has assisted us in achieving impressive results.  Although it can take time to align all stakeholders and refine the process, the results are well worth it.  Feel free to get in contact if you have further insights, we’re all about development!

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