We are an ever evolving society. Our pace of evolution is based on the rate of change around us. We build our processes and rules based on that. Over the last 4 decades, especially the last decade, that rate of pace has exponentially exploded and our pace at evolving our processes have been left in the dust. Businesses that either haven’t kept up or haven’t tried to keep up and evolve their processes accordingly are either finding it harder year by year to keep up and are disappearing. The rate of change now, is so high that classic project management just doesn’t cut it and increasingly, projects managed in the classic waterfall model are not meeting their intended goals. As individuals we are grappling with the information overload due to this change. As businesses we are stuck with old processes and mind-sets that refuse to acknowledge what is happening around us. In 2001, after being frustrated at the lack of change in project management methods, a group of smart people got together and came up with a way to speed things up while allowing flexibility in project management. They summarized their work in what is known as the Agile Manifesto. The following is quoted directly from that site:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
Since then, more and more companies are now embracing Agile. Unfortunately, we still see a number of organizations say they are using Agile methodologies or SCRUM, but we find out that they are only using parts of SCRUM that they find easy and do not challenge the status quo.
SCRUM is one of the ways to implement the Agile principles in project management. This is not an ad-hoc way of doing things. It is very well defined and should be followed strictly to see the results that were intended by the Agile manifesto. SCRUM focuses on team self-management, empirical feedback, and short focused iterations to build tested working software.
We have seen tremendous success using SCRUM and we continue to use it on most if not all projects. The only time we deviate from this is on smaller projects where the timeline is 3-4 weeks or shorter.