How to simplify your business with Scrum

Scrum is traditionally used only for software development. But do you know how to use this methodology to make your business simpler and more productive?

Sometimes the simple things are the best. Unfortunately, managing a business – or even a department – can be far from simple. This is why many organisations look to apply management models to their operations, and Scrum is increasingly becoming the framework of choice. Let’s take a look at how it can be used!

Scrum and the Agile business

Scrum is a practical methodology that is used to apply the Agile principles to a project. It was originally developed to help software development teams stay on track and work well as a team even when under pressure to deliver. (For an overview of Scrum for software development, read our previous blog post ‘The Power of Scrum’.)

As with most great frameworks, the Scrum model can be applied to other scenarios than for what it was originally designed. Many organisations have discovered that Scrum is not just great for software development but can benefit many other business areas.

A tried and tested model

The reason why Scrum is such an efficient model to use in business is because it has been tried and tested in highly challenging situations where time and resources are limited. It allows people to continuously extract value from their whole team’s collective knowledge and ability, which can otherwise be very difficult to do.

Let’s take a look at some of the central Scrum principles and how you can use them to build a more agile and efficient business.

  • Simplicity: Defining the product
    When working with software development, it is of course obvious what the product is. However, in Finance, HR, or Sales and Marketing, the ‘product’ can be slightly more difficult to define. However, you can use the same concept to consider what your goals and your most central deliverables are. This will help to create clarity across your teams and make sure everyone shares the same goals and visions.
  • Adaptivity: Managing change
    Just like software requirements and technology can change over time, the business environment constantly changes around us. Scrum takes this into consideration by allowing for shifting requirements and keeping an adaptive approach. If the needs of the customer changes, the business should change its direction by having a model for adopting feedback and implementing it.
  • Productivity: Getting things done
    In software development, the Scrum model works with short, frequent ‘sprints’ that last for 2-4 weeks. These are designed to keep momentum and energy high, by giving the team a sense of achievement as well as urgency. In other departments, these sprints may need to be longer or shorter. The objective is to keep everyone’s mind focused on delivery and staying on top of their allocated tasks – in order to reach the team’s shared goals.
  • Frequent Delivery: Constant review
    Scrum is built on the principle of creating early visibility of product features and value, to help everyone involved to understand the product and give feedback on it. In business, this idea can be transcribed to having regular points of delivery and review – sometimes with just your line manager – to keep on top of any issues and resolving them early.
  • Accountability: Taking ownership
    One of the most famous elements of the Scrum methodology is the daily meeting. This is where the entire team gets together for a quick run-through of everyone’s progress, current activities, and any challenges they may have. This is a great way to ensure every team member gets heard and recognised, but it also allows the team to address any issues together by sharing knowledge and resources. In the Scrum, nobody gets forgotten and nobody can hide.
  • Continuous improvement: Taking stock
    In a Scrum project, nobody moves from one phase to another without running a ‘retrospective’; a review of the iteration delivered. In this review the team will evaluate the results, while also discussing the way those results were achieved. What worked well? What could have been done better? How can the processes be improved for next time? This is a way for businesses to ensure they are on a path of constant improvement and best practice.

From complex to simple

Here at DCSL, we are great fans of the Scrum model and we see the huge benefits it brings to our ability to deliver bespoke software on any complexity level. It is what allows us to keep motivation and productivity high, while also ensuring we learn and grow on a daily basis. We have also seen how Scrum principles have made a huge difference to businesses that want to become Agile on a larger scale. One such example can be found in the Leading Agile blog.

Best of luck in making your business work simpler and smarter!