Our technology team has built a powerful suite of tools that allow us to quickly and efficiently automate reports, manage massive product feeds or scale search campaigns. Our agency really stands apart because of the tools and technology that they’ve built to support the business. Back when the company only had a handful of employees, we didn’t need a lot of structure around how to build products. But as we’ve grown to 70+ employees, there is more of a need for a process to help us prioritize the requests, define better requirements for what we need to build and to estimate the work and communicate the progress along the way while still moving very quickly. We have turned to the Agile methodology, specifically Scrum.
You might be thinking… what in the world is Scrum and how does this apply? At the most basic level, Scrum is an agile framework for developing complex products. Scrum was originally formalized for software development projects, but it can be applied by other teams to any project.
There are three core elements of Scrum:
- Transparency – the progress of the work must be visible to everyone
- Inspection – the team must have frequent chances to inspect various aspects of the deliverables
- Adaption – adjustments should be made to the process along the way based on feedback and environment
PMG just held a two-day training course with Lance Dacy from BiGAgile, an experienced Agile Trainer, for the entire agency so we can share a common understanding of the Scrum framework. I think everyone came away excited to implement what we learned. Lance did a great job presenting the content and keeping everyone engaged.
I won’t try to recap the entire training, but I just want to quickly highlight what Scrum looks like:
- The product owner creates a prioritized wish list of everything we want to create called a product backlog
- The team has short, focused bursts of work called sprints (usually 2-4 weeks)
- At the beginning of the sprint during sprint planning, the team pulls the top priority items from the product backlog (forms the sprint backlog) and decides how to implement them
- At the end of the sprint the work should be potentially shippable and shown to the stakeholders during the Sprint Review meeting.
- The team meets regularly to assess progress which is called Daily Scrum or Daily Stand-Up
- There is continuous improvement on the process during a Sprint Retrospective meeting
If you have 1.5 minutes to spare, this video does a good job summarizing the Scrum framework.
We are looking forward to diving in and implementing Scrum. I’m sure we’ll hit a few snags along the way, but I know we can overcome them. After all, Scrum is all about adapting.