Enhancing Scrum Meetings - an important way to manage the SCRUM workflow

What is SCRUM? Scrum, an iterative and incremental Agile methodology was coined from a concept of th

What is SCRUM?

Scrum, an iterative and incremental Agile methodology was coined from a concept of the game ‘RUGBY’ where the forwards of a team form up with arms interlocked and heads down, and push forward against a similar group from the opposing side. The analogy in a product development process is to work together and move ahead as a team to achieve the goal.

The most noteworthy aspect of an Agile methodology is that it does not follow any rigidness. A fully Agile enterprise would not have a business or technical side rather would work directly to delivering the best business value. Hence, software development companies are shifting towards agile project management.

The scrum team

A scrum team is the group that actually works on a scrum project. It all begins with the Product Owner and his or her vision for the project. Next there is the Scrum Development Team. They are a team which works across various functions in a self-lead and coordinated atmosphere. The Scrum Master is the manager for this team because of his or her authority and leadership inside the group. The job of the Scrum Master is to manage and monitor all the issues that occur during a development process. A scrum sprint is the basic unit of a scrum workflow.

What are scrum meetings?

After the planning of the entire project plan, scrum meetings are held daily to set the day’s work. Usually held in the morning, these meetings are called ‘daily scrums’ and serve as the starting phase of each day’s work.

Daily, before the start of the day’s work, the entire team meets up to have a meeting- which is lead by the scrum master. The sole purpose of this meeting is for each team member to illustrate his or her work for the day and to inform coordination required from peers. This meeting is neither a status reporting session nor an issue solving exercise. Most agile/Scrum textbooks specify that each member of a team should address only three key topics in a daily scrum meeting:

  • What was done on the previous day?
  • What is to be done today?
  • What are the hindrances being faced?

Rules to be followed during a scrum meeting

A general rule of thumb is that a scrum team with ‘n’ members will take about ‘2n+5’ minutes for a daily scrum meeting if the team is well prepared for it. As an example, a small team with 6 members will take 17 minutes for daily scrums, while a larger team will take more time.  Of course, if the project needs a huge number of people, a single scrum team will not be effective. It is broken down into smaller teams. A scrum team should have 7 ± 2 members (i.e., 5 to 9 members).

Ways to have an effective scrum meeting

Most experts and practitioners of the scrum workflow, follow the following steps to have an effective scrum meeting:

  • Daily meetings of scrum are to be conducted at the same time and in the same place. Preferably mornings or if not possible, at the end of the day are the best times to have these meetings.
  • Meetings should be crisp and short but effective. Long meetings become tedious and the team members get distracted.
  • As the meetings are a time bound activity, it should be tech free zones. Use of mobiles or laptops might lighten the concentration and also waste precious time.
  • The scrum master should project the daily data to illustrate as mobiles or laptops should not be allowed.
  • All team members should prepare before hand for the meeting and the scrum master should make a routine of letting who to speak when.
  • The time should be utilized only to capture the discussion during the meeting not to resolve those issues.

Why are Scrum Meetings Necessary?

An important portion to cover in this context is as to why a scrum meeting required if all the information is available in the Agile project management tool like VersionOne. Well, there are a lot of advantages that a real time meeting offers. The summarization of the necessity of scrum meetings is:

  • Information is very specific and tied to stories and tasks in the agile project management tool being used. These tasks need proper planning and prioritization which is to be decided while in the meeting.
  • Any incomplete work of the previous day-not included on the current day’s schedule can be continued. Total dependence on the tool might leave out those tasks.
  • The incomplete task has to be justified with a proper planning for it.
  • The meeting also makes all the team members get a brief idea regarding the current day’s work.
  • The inputs of everyone are an essential takeaway from every meeting.

Scrum accelerates software delivery and business innovation and changes the way project teams work. Its help the software development companies meet client needs, provide value to their customers, and helps the organization deliver effective services quickly.

Top ten project management tools for small to medium IT projects

Project management deals with initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the&nbs

Project management deals with initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of team to achieve targets  and meet particular success criteria. A project is a temporary mode designed to produce a unique product, service or result which has defined beginning and end. Project management tool helps better to communicate with team members and keep clients informed. Project management can be seen in every walk of life and phases from making a recipe to developing a complex software, application and webpages.

Project Management facilitates to manage risk, quality, change and benefits the user in terms of timeline, scope and budget. It helps managers follow time frames more accurately, preventing projects from ending past due date. Working with project management tools assist project managers to keep projects under budget and on time. It is important for most business's of any scale which considers  costs that include time / resources, dollars costs and return on the investment needed to make the projects. It smoothens the process of determining the schedule of projects, resources allocated and responsible for ensuring that the stakeholders know about project status.

 1) Microsoft Project

It is widely used tool for project management. Desktop application is available as a Office 365 subscription which allows to work from any corner of world. Plan resources, manage team schedules, calculate scenarios, and collaborate with all the project stakeholders. It helps them develop a schedule, assign resources to tasks, track progress. It also manages the budget, and analyze workloads for an ongoing project.

 2) Podio

Podio is open by default and transparent and can be built on top of an open API. Podio speeds communication and provides the transparency and accountability needed for efficient teamwork, by enabling people to organize and track work in one easy-to-use place. Every app is made using a simple drag and drop interface, with which any user can pick from a combination of these field types to create their apps. Podio has feature of reporting, workflows, webforms, workspace, podio chat, task management.

3) Wrike

Wrike's end-to-end solution takes your projects from initial request to tracking work progress and reporting results. Wrike enables to create and delegate tasks, track deadlines, visualize  plans on the Gantt chart, and share reports. It includes following feature of Gantt chart, Resource and workload management, Cross-team collaboration, custom status and workflow, Real time status update and visual dashboard and reporting. Wrike is a powerful yet user-friendly solution that helps you achieve your project goals.

 4) BASECAMP

Basecamp is easy to use interface to collaborate with your team and client. It allows you to create multiple projects and setup discussions, write to-do lists, manage files, create and share documents, and organise dates for scheduling. It facilitates to manage projects and check status on mobile device on the go. It is a good application for small projects where a lot of collaboration is required with clients and team or for internal projects.

5) Smartsheet

Smartsheet is an online project management & task collaboration tool that defines how teams work and works as software as a service application. It is  easy to use spreadsheet-like interface, coupled with file sharing, Gantt charts, card view and work automation features have helps to quickly grow into a favorite business app for productivity and manage any kind of work with one centralized tool that is seamlessly integrated with Google Apps.

 6) Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects is the ultimate productivity tool to manage projects with your team. Teamwork allows you to keep all your projects, tasks and files all in one place and easily collaborate with a team. It helps to visualise the entire project through a marked calendar and gantt chart and setup reporting.

 7) Asana

Asana helps teams to track work by single user and manage projects. It facilitates to manage tasks, projects, conversations and dashboard and keeps work organized, and teammates accountable. It also helps to create or join project. To keep track of work with mobile apps for both iOS and Android. It is free to use for teams upto 15.

 8) Freedcamp

Freedcamp is free for unlimited users and projects. Free accounts are limited to 10MB file size limit with unlimited storage on all plans. It facilitates to provide features free to non-profits, teachers and students. It includes components such as Tasks lists,sticky notes,calender milestones, discussions, time tracking.

 9) Trello

Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes projects into boards and organize everything together . It tells what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. It helps to minimize meetings and sync with other platforms.It is easy to organize boards and members for every slice of life with teams. There is no limit to no of users.

 10) Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects is the project management software a that enables users to work online. It is focused on product development and customer support rather than sales and marketing. Zoho integrates with various platforms like MS outlook calendar, google apps, Dropbox. It  plans projects,deep insights charts and reports, keep track  of time,track and fix issues and manage documents. It adds unlimited users on all plans at no extra cost.

 

Conclusion

Project Management have become indispensable to the modern-day project manager and they form the basis what is achieved during the course of a project. Knowledge of the different kinds of costs that the project will incur is essential to successful budgeting while project managers are planning a project. An understanding of overall cost of a particular company in a specific industry will help project managers create budgets that take cost into proper consideration and deliver winning results. It is difficult to tag any project management tool as the best. Choice of project management tool by companies depends on project requirements, back-end technology, performance, cost and many other aspects. This list is an indicative list that a company can use to select. These are upfront tools to manage project one should review for appropriately according to budget and have secure user experience.