Build Your Product Development Strategy with Scrum

Scrum Product Development Strategy

Scrum master salary has trended up in recent years. Enterprise recruiters and managers everywhere are looking for Scrum talent. This lightweight framework, within which teams can tackle complex challenges, offers a new paradigm for your product development. As a product development strategy, it offers benefits like faster project completion and the ability to react quickly to changes in the project or business requirements.

Companies Competing For Scarce Skills

I.T. professionals know that when a particular expertise is bid up in the marketplace, it is often due to companies competing for a scarce skillset. In recent times, the rise of Scrum master salary for skilled professionals illustrates this. As CIO Magazine notes, the acceleration of data and technology changes has created a void for talent with the skills to give companies an edge.

Scrum Master Salary And Salaries Data For Related Professionals

Salary data available for the U.S. market reflects the growing recognition of Scrum experts as a necessary part of successful product development strategy. Payscale reports the following average salaries for related professionals.

  •  Scrum Master – $85,050
  • Certified Scrum Master – $86.305
  • Product Owner – $78,637
  • Agile Coach – $120,849
Certified Scrum Master Average Annual Salary
Certified Scrum Master Average Annual Salary

Why Companies Are Using Scrum In Project Management

Behind the rise of Scrum, not surprisingly, is a set of tectonic shifts in the way product development is now conducted. The method began in the 1990s as an alternative to the heavyweight, manufacturing-focused approaches that were then popular for managing projects.

Definition Of Scrum

Scrum: A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.
[Source: The Scrum Guide™ by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland]

The word itself originated in the sport of Rugby. In a Rugby scrum, members of the team from different functions all huddle and push together to take control of the ball.

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Just like the Rugby analogy, Scrum methodology favors cross-functional teams that work collaboratively from beginning to end. This is different from traditional software development methods like Waterfall, which are less flexible.

Pros and Cons Of The Scrum Model
Pros and Cons Of The Scrum Model

Companies That Use Scrum

Companies that use this development methodology in their product development range from small startups to very large firms. A partial list drawn from developers and information technology experts includes the following well-known companies:

  • Google
  • Bank Of America
  • McKinsey & Co.
  • Qualcomm
  • American Express
  • Adobe Systems
  • BBC
  • State Farm
  • Canada Post
  • Yahoo
  • Wells Fargo

and many others. This methodology has earned a reputation as a preferable product development strategy due to its ability to facilitate projects of all kinds. Regardless of your industry, for example, banking, automotive engineering or I.T., you are likely to find numerous teams that are making use of the methodology successfully.

How To Conduct Scrum For Your Product Development

In order to conduct Scrum for your product development, you will need to first structure a cross-functional team.

Teams range in size from around 3-10 people but do not typically grow much larger than this. If you find yourself with many more people than can be accommodated on a team, it might be time to split the team into two or more teams.

Product Owner’s Role

Each team needs a Product Owner. The Product Owner represents the product’s stakeholders, including management and the product’s users. The Product Owner is different from the Scrum Master and does not control the technical decisions about the team’s fulfillment of requirements. User stories are the chief means of documenting the Product Owner’s requirements for the product.

The Scrum Master

The Scrum Master conducts Scrum meetings, daily standups and other responsibilities that have to do with ensuring the methodology is correctly implemented. Their leadership role involves clearing impediments from the Development team and ensuring Product Owners are aware of the best ways to structure the product backlog. The Scrum Master will also conduct or arrange a training for team members so they can practice the methodology more effectively.

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The Development Team And Its Responsibilities

Carrying out of all product development is the actual responsibility of the Development Team. This will involve experts from various functionalities: design, backend development, frontend development, database design, software testing, business analysts, and the like.

Structuring Sprints And Backlogs

You will structure your time into sprints, which may range from a week to two weeks long. Month-long sprints are possible, but shorter sprints are preferable because they allow your team to react much more quickly to changes in the product requirements. The team can hold a discussion to determine the most appropriate sprint length.

Using a project management tool such as JIRA, Basecamp, Trello, Kanban or similar, you create a sprint backlog of features or technical specifications to be completed during the sprint. As individuals items are completed, they get taken out of the backlog and marked as completed. This helps everyone on the team easily understand what has been accomplished, and what remains.

At the end of a sprint, a sprint retrospective meeting affords the team the opportunity to reflect on what went right. You should also use this time to identify things that went wrong and ideas to improve on them in the next or future sprints.

Does Your Team Need Scrum Master Certification?

Scrum Certification Levels
Scrum Certification Levels

Scrum Master certification is the formal accreditation of professionals through a recognized Scrum training course. Certification programs include CSM (Certified Scrum Master), mps, CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner) and CSP (Certified Scrum Professional).

Pros of Scrum Master CertificationCons of Scrum Master Certification
Large companies such as Microsoft prefer to work with certified professionalsSmaller companies and startups may not place as much value on certifications
Certification allows the professional to gain standards-compliant expertise and knowledgeSome certification programs may involve only a weekend-long training schedule, limiting the amount of knowledge that can be taught.
Employing certified professionals can enhance a company’s technical reputationSome programs have high tuition fees which make them less accessible
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Agile Project Management and Scrum

Scrum is of the Agile development strategy that is often brought up.

Agile definition: According to the Agile Alliance, Agile is “a set of methods and practices where solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams.”

Agile methodology originated in the late 1990s following developments in rapid application development, Extreme Programming and other lightweight software development approaches. The Manifesto for Agile Software Development defined 12 principles for agile development, among them:

  • Working software is the primary measure of progress
  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in the project

While Agile defines broad principles, it is not as specific in its team or project structure. Agile-compatible methodologies like Kanban are more opinionated about the roles of the project team. According to Smartsheet, Agile’s weaknesses include the downplaying of documentation and prevalence of less concrete planning.

In contrast, while Scrum is iterative, it defines concrete steps and project implementation plans. These include the sprint, backlog, daily stand-ups and the sprint retrospective. As a result, Scrum Masters can provide day to day leadership and guidance for teams to carry out projects successfully.

What To Expect When You Use Scrum

Scrum can bring improvements to your product development strategy. These include greater speed to market, less cost, and increased agility. Changes in requirements become easier to accommodate in your development. The products you make will be better, easier to make and involve less risk as a result of adopting standard Scrum practices.

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