When it comes to software development, a final result is always influenced by numerous factors. The first things that pop up in minds are budget, expertise of software engineers, time limits, efficiently set workflow and effective communication between a client and a development team. Yet, there is also one aspect that is as important as deciding what kind of product to develop. As you may have already guessed, it’s the project management methodology, or, to put it simply, the way a development team will work to create a product.
The costs of any app and web development always depend on the number of hours programmers spend on to complete the work. So it’s essential that the methodology they follow allows them to accomplish more in less time without compromising on the quality or exceeding the budget. You may wonder: is it even possible? The answer is “Yes” and Scrum is something that actually makes it possible.
In this article, we’ll try to help you understand what is Scrum methodology, how it may benefit your project and whether you need it to develop your next software product. But let’s start with discussing the philosophy behind Scrum so you can see where everything comes from.
Agile and its values
If you have ever googled what’s Scrum software development, you’ve probably found some information about Agile as these two terms often go hand in hand. This is because Scrum follows the Agile principles.
In short, Agile is an umbrella philosophy that, besides Scrum, covers several other project management methodologies such as Kanban and Lean. Its core values are outlined in so-called Manifesto for Agile Software Development developed by seventeen programmers in 2001.
The main purpose of all Agile methodologies is to make the process of product development as simple and effective as possible and to gain maximum client satisfaction from a supreme product quality in the end.
So what exactly is Scrum software development? Let’s talk about this next.
What is Scrum?
The official Scrum Guide defines Scrum as “a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.” To put it simpler, Scrum is a methodology that helps efficiently develop and deliver complex products.
The main idea behind Scrum is that the process of product development is broken up into relatively short and fixed-duration iterations called sprints during which a team creates one piece of software (an increment) that is potentially releasable.
A distinctive feature of this framework is that there is no heavy planning at the beginning and a Scrum development team can start coding once it receives enough information to complete the first incremental release. After the first increment is built, a team tests and reviews it to make this specific piece of software ready for delivery. Hence, at the end of the sprint, a client receives a potentially shippable feature set. The same procedure (planning -> building -> testing -> reviewing = increment) is repeated for all the next sprints until a product is complete.
The above approach allows a team to accumulate knowledge about a product so they can make each further decision based on the information acquired from experience (i.e. previous sprints) rather than predictions and brief background data known at the beginning. It gives a development team an opportunity to learn and improve throughout the development process that results in faster and more productive work in each further sprint.
Why Scrum is beneficial for your project
The main reason why development companies choose to follow Scrum approach when building software products is that it allows them to deliver more value to clients benefiting them in a myriad of ways.
Advantages of Scrum methodology:
Quick start. Scrum assumes iterative software development, and knowledge about a product is accumulated throughout the process. For these reasons, there is no need for a development team to make all decisions at the very beginning — programmers can start coding right after they have basic information required to create the first increment. Hence, you don’t have to wait for ages until the lengthy planning process is completed.
Frequent releases. A sprint cannot be longer than a month. So, if your team uses Scrum software development framework, you’ll be receiving a potentially releasable increment every 2-4 weeks.
Transparency. Clients are actively involved in the Scrum software development process and have an opportunity to see the work in progress, not just the final product. On top of this, clients’ feedback is gathered on a regular basis, so you can always be sure that the deliverables meet your expectations.
Flexibility. A team makes all the decisions based on experience it received from the previous iterations. As the result, Scrum allows teams to avoid one of the most common pitfalls inherent to more conventional project management methodologies — inability to effectively manage ever-changing circumstances. The scope of a product can be easily adapted to new requirements, for example, if unexpected challenges arise, and, thus, it is always kept relevant.
Advanced quality. Increments are inspected at the end of each sprint, so if there are any errors, they are detected early on. This allows a team to address all issues in a timely manner that results in the high-end quality of deliverables.
Improved risk control. Constant accumulation of knowledge by a team gradually decreases the level of uncertainty that is inevitable at the beginning of any project. This allows a team to manage risks more effectively since the more information they have, the better decisions they can make, and the more risks can be mitigated.
Budget forecasts. As the work is done in short iterations, a client can terminate the development process at any moment at just a short notice.
The above benefits of Scrum give clients the opportunity to receive high-quality products perfectly tailored to their needs within the shortest possible period of time.
Types of projects Scrum suits for the most
As mentioned, Scrum works best for dealing with complex projects for which a fully predictive approach is not suitable.
Basically, one can hardly find a software development project that doesn’t meet all the criteria mentioned above. So it won’t be an exaggeration to say that when it comes to web or app development, there is no better methodology to apply.
Budgeting in Scrum
Budgeting in Scrum is done according to Time and Material pricing model. This means that a client is charged with a payment that is calculated based on time spent by the development team to complete the work.
As we see from the practice, some CFOs and other top managers are reluctant to go for Scrum. They think that this methodology is risky in terms of budgeting as it doesn’t allow for the full costs predictability. Yet, the truth is that the way the budget is decided in Scrum is much safer and more foreseeable than the fixed-price model and, thus, it’s more advantageous for clients. Here are two reasons why it is so.
Fixed-price model rarely works for software development projects.
This is because the requirements and market conditions change frequently that makes it practically impossible to calculate the exact price for the work up front. If a development team still tries to do this, it usually leads to either overestimation or underestimation. Both situations are undesirable for clients since when a project is overestimated, you pay more than the work actually costs. At the same time, in the case of underestimation, the quality of a product is usually compromised as a development team has less time than it needs to develop software.
Application of Scrum allows for better control over your budget
If you see that you’re running out of budget, you may decide to terminate the work giving only a short (usually a one month’s) notice. Besides, you may sometimes end up having the releasable product earlier than you planned. In such case, you may also bring your project to an end saving all the money that is left.
Hence, don’t let yourself be deceived by the fixed price, it usually comes at a high cost.
Putting it all together
Scrum is one of the best methodologies to apply in any software development project. Breaking up the process into fixed-duration sprints allows for the quick start of coding, as well as frequent releases of potentially shippable feature sets. At the same time, constant adaptations and inspections ensure the high quality of final results. Another huge benefit of this framework is a convenient and risk-free budgeting system that lets clients and development teams avoid the traps of overestimation and underestimation.
Here, at GBKSOFT, we apply Scrum methodology to deliver high-end products to our clients. Want to hire a Scrum team for your next development project?