The Ins and Outs of SCRUM on Information Management Projects
We have a lot of work to do in information management. We sit on the golden assets of modern organizations and need to make the most of not only internally-generated information, but information including selective externally-generated information. And we have a robust, expanding set of options for managing and processing the information.
You can look at the variety of open source/big data projects from either perspective (open source or big data) or both to see the value there that many are embracing. There are cloud options to everything we touch and options for processing the data without even storing it. Hardware is not so simple anymore with caching, memory, columnar approaches and cloud options. Excuses for not managing data cost-effectively are being removed. Again, we have a lot of work to do in information management.
Once again, we need to find ways to produce more effectively, and more quickly. Performance misses are not just in producing slow queries for our users. It’s also in our development cycles. SCRUM, as a leading agile framework for software development projects, holds promise for those of us producing software that’s not for resale as well as for producing commercial software.
I have selectively adopted elements of SCRUM into my methodology over the past few years. Put more accurately, I learned my approach was already perilously close to SCRUM principles and adopting the increasingly popular SCRUM terminology would build bridges to consultants and clients alike.
I’m not interested in obtaining belts or more certifications or in making sure projects adhere hard to a published methodology (I have a one day, not a multi-week, class where I’ll give your team the knowledge it needs to be agile.) I’m interested in producing lasting results. SCRUM helps.
The now somewhat-famous Agile Manifesto is the foundation for SCRUM. It simply reads:
· Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
· Working software over comprehensive documentation
· Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
· Responding to change over following a plan
SCRUM can be adopted either at a company level, a department level or on a project basis and it’s being adopted as much in the midmarket as at enterprises as far as I can tell. You can adopt SCRUM in an agile fashion – by adopting some of the principles into your next project and scaling up from there. Some of the “low hanging fruit” you may wish to do include:
- Short Daily Team Meetings
- 2-week deliverables, with some element of user deliverables each cycle
- A “no excuses” policy to deliver to commitment
- Obtaining business agreement to use resources wisely and not interrupt the short development cycles
- Team contribution to task scoping and assignment
- Managing a backlog of requirements, not losing any
- Engaging a business sponsor to be actively involved in requirements, acceptance and planning
- Conforming requirements to a “As a…”, “I want …”, “So That …” format
- Utilizing all the team’s skills, regardless of job title
- 10. Cutting out all the unnecessary things usually done – quirks and customs that don’t lead to production
SCRUM terminology can be applied to the approach initially or in time. Give it time to breathe and adopt. You will notice the results.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.