Showing posts with label Scrum tool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scrum tool. Show all posts

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Salient Features Of Scrum

Agile - The base of Scrum

Agile, and the path to Agility is now becoming a much sought after norm for many businesses across the world. There is a huge demand for understanding, and implementing, Agile based frameworks. Perhaps one of the main reasons why Agile is becoming increasingly popular is because consumer demands are changing radically and people now desire more. And, people are not ready to wait. They want products which offer good value for money, and that too with enhanced features. This has created a need to develop products which are:
  • Competitive
  • Feature rich
  • Quickly available
  • Fulfil specific end user requirements
Agile proposes to satisfy these requirements without adding on to the product costs.
The basic issue with all Agile frameworks is that they are – frameworks. They offer guidelines how the Agile process can and should be implemented in a project. For that, it becomes imperative to understand what a framework is, and how it differs from a methodology. Many individuals still feel Agile is a methodology and they could not be more wrong.

Agile methodology misconception

There is still a misconception regarding Agile – some people still tend to refer to Agile as a methodology. This is not true. A methodology offers a set of rules, principles, tools, or practices that can be used to conduct processes and achieve certain goals. A framework, on the other hand, is a loose structure that leaves enough room for other tools and practices to be included, and only provides the process required. In simple terms, a methodology is like a doctor’s prescription – you have to “take” it as per instructions provided, while a framework is like trying out home remedies – you know what can be done to achieve a particular objective, but it is up to you how to implement the remedy, and when to implement it. An Agile framework has to be implemented in a project to be successful, and there are no specific rules about how to do it. You have to follow certain guidelines and configure your project to function as per the rules specified in the framework. This is very much the case with Agile. Agile is a framework.

Agile Scrum salient features

Of all Agile frameworks, Scrum and Extreme Programming “XP” are the most popular. Even though Scrum framework is more generally used for developing software projects, it can also be used for developing non-IT projects. Scrum constitutes a collection of ideas and rules pertaining to effective project management. The framework supports collaboration and self-organisation. The team members work jointly and develop the project. They collaborate and share their ideas and findings. Scrum teams self-manage their activities. The most important aspect of Scrum is that all activities are time boxed. The client receives working versions of the product features on a continued basis through product incremental cycles – sprints – at regular intervals ranging from a week up to a maximum of one month. Cycles keep on repeating until all product features are developed and the product is ready.  

A unique aspect about Scrum is that the framework has a capability of adapting itself to changing market conditions, and incorporates those changes in the product development cycle even late during the development process. The Scrum process focuses upon responding quickly and efficiently to changing environments and assimilating those changes in the product design. The client benefits though the development of a product that is in tune with the most recent market demands. Moreover, participation from the end users and incorporating their suggestions while developing the product features further ensures that the product developed is most likely to assume a high business value or worth.  
  • Scrum - an agile process – focuses upon delivering high business values to the client in the shortest time possible.
  • It supports rapid and repeated inspection of the actual working software.
  • The product is developed in stages through the product incremental cycles known as sprints.
  • The client benefits from shippable product releases at the end of incremental cycle.
  • Frequent and consistent product increments should be delivered to the client.
  • The client, and the business, sets the priority.
  • The working process responds quickly and efficiently to the changes occurring in the market conditions, and in incorporating those changes into the product features in the least time possible.
  • Scrum teams self-organise and self-manage to determine the most efficient and quick way of delivering high priority features.

Scrum principles

Scrum functions as per certain rules or principles which are very important for its efficient working:
Individuals and interactions over Process and tools
Working software over Comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation
Responding to change over Following a plan

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Breaking Down The Agile Manifesto And Understanding It

The popularity of Agile frameworks, especially XP and Scrum, is increasing by the day, and more and more organisations are deciding in favour of using these frameworks to execute their projects. Agile proposes many advantages – frequent and reliable product increments, delivering product features having high business values, and above all – delivery of shippable product features even while the development process is underway. However, a major issue with Agile, and all Agile based frameworks is that the framework has to be properly understood and later implemented in the project. Moreover, the implementation should be carried out keeping Agile principles in mind. More than often, businesses fail to benefit from Agile simply because the management has not understood the basic principles behind the framework, or has failed to implement those principles in a proper manner.

The Agile manifesto

Since it was developed in 2001, thousands of individuals including project managers, software professionals, and C level executives have endorsed the Agile manifesto. Hundreds of books and references have been written to discuss what the guide has to say, and how it should be interpreted. The manifesto has drastically changed the way in which organisations and individuals develop software projects. The manifesto packs a lot of punch for its 68 words which have been written by 17 software professionals over a two days meet at a ski resort.

The principles of Agile are stated in the official guide written by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. The guide functions as a bible for all Agile groups and Agile professionals. People refer to the guide when in doubt, or when they wish to clarify a particular point during Agile framework implementation. For individuals interested in Agile, it is very important to understand the guide and interpret what it has to say.

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
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.
To start with, the manifesto states “We” i.e. it emphasis that Agile is not a solo endeavour. It involves group activity and people have to collaborate while working, at every level, and at every instant. Development teams, project teams, and organisation have to work jointly as a composite unit, and rely upon each other for completing work.
are uncovering 
Here, the guide suggests that Agile does not offer one-size-fits-all type of solutions. Agile cannot be standardised and implemented in a project. People involved with Agile processes have to put in efforts, and strive to seek answers through discussions and collaborations. Answers have to be discovered through experimentation, and the “adapt” and “inspect” principles which are... Read more

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Scrum Tool

QuickScrum helps to unlock the power of Agile Scrum into your projects – whether you are 
a “seasoned” Agile professional or a novice - just starting with Scrum – you can get started with 
Scrum implementation and get your projects “going” right away!
The Scrum tool plays an indispensable part in planning and developing your software projects.
It can help you:
  • Create and estimate user stories
  • Effortlessly create and maintain product backlogs
  • Define and design your sprints
  • Identify team progress and velocity through dynamically generated burndown and 
  • velocity charts
  • Visualise the entire team activity on a “single” platform
  • Avail customised reports to get an insight about your project’s status.

QuickScrum Scrum tool advantages

The tool offers many benefits and is a “must have” for all Scrum whiteboard users. The tool 
offers several facilities and features that are not found, and not possible to have while 
using a traditional whiteboard. It offers an “automated” Scrum implementation solution for the 
entire team.

Search anything at your fingertips
A trademark feature of the tool, very few other Scrum tools offer a facility wherein you can 

search for any type of project related information without leaving your current page. Envisioned 
and designed specially to aid the Scrum team, the search features ensure you have quick and 
easy access to any aspect or information pertaining to your ongoing project. Find, check, edit, 
and delete whatever you need to – instantly!  

Manage product backlogs of any size and complexity
Product backlogs form the “heart” of a Scrum based software project. The tool supports creation 

of new user stories, their modification, and removal. It is very easy to create, search, and list 
out user stories based upon your specific searching criteria. The product backlog 
management supports drag-and-drop features which help in the backlog grooming activity. 
It is easy to carry out the backlog refinement sessions with the entire team using the 
backlog management features. What’s more, you can create and maintain product backlogs 
of any size and complexity.  

Plan multiple sprints simultaneously
Multiple sprints can be designed and planned on a single page.

Access Scrum taskboard from anywhere
Very essential for distributed or disjoint development teams, the tool offers a common, shared 
access to all team members. Each member can log on and view instant updates on the taskboard.
 The taskboard helps to foster collaboration through live updates of activity carried out by other 
team members. The taskboard features can be accessed from anywhere.

Live Burndown charts
Generate burndown charts that display the most current team progress. Compare ideal team 

progress with your current team velocity and monitor projects in a dynamic way. An essential tool 
for product owners and scrum masters to keep track of current team activity and progress.

Instant team activity log
Whatever activity you do – whether the tool users create a new user story, add, or update tasks 

– everything is “logged” and displayed “live” in the activity log section of the tool. See what 
other team members are currently up to and “doing” in the tool.

Detailed velocity charts
Informative and visually appealing velocity charts exhibit the current team velocity.

Resources workload and summary
The QuickSCrum tool displays tasks linked to individual resources and their task statuses, in 

terms of time available, associated with each team member. The resource workload summary
 is exhibited, so it can be identified how much additional work can be taken up and completed 
by the programmers.Read more at Scrum tool

Thursday, 10 July 2014

What to Consider Before Writing User Stories in Scrum So They Can Be More Effective and Meaningful

User stories in scrum

A user story is the main functional unit in scrum methodology. When any project is taken up for development using scrum, the specific requirements for that particular project is stated by creating a set or development requirements, which are termed as user stories in scrum. Usually the product owner creates the product backlog – the list of requirements needed to develop the project. The product backlog items are referred to as user stories by scrum professionals. Once the product requirement list is created, a small set of the requirements (user stories) are transferred to the sprint backlog during the sprint planning meeting for development purposes. The stories are explained to the team members in the first half of the sprint planning meeting. During the second half, team members distribute the stories after breaking them down into development tasks. A sprint backlog is prepared in this way. Subsequently, the team starts developing the functionalities of the user stories during the daily sprint. In scrum, the entire project is governed on the basis of the user stories.

The official scrum guide does not attempt to provide a specific definition that can describe the “structure” of a particular user story. The guide actually explains what a user story is, and what part it is supposed to play in the project. It fails to provide a standard format which can explain as to how a user story should really look like. Maybe, the reason why the guide fails to provide a structural definition is because development requirements can vary from one particular project to another.  So, it becomes difficult to standardize a specific format compatible to all types of projects.  The guide, however, states that the user story should ideally be composed of three constituent parts, or include there main aspects:

1.     A written description or a graphical representation of the entity which forms a part of the project
2.     A detailed conversation, or an explanation which additionally describes the functionality in greater details
3.     The acceptance criteria or “Done” meaning which specifies what the entity should include, how it should function, and the particular manner how it should migrate or integrate into the project

What should be considered while writing or creating user stories
While writing the user stories, certain points are important, and should be adhered to for the user stories to be effective and developmental:

·       Stakeholders should create or write the user stories
The investors and the stakeholders are funding the project for financial gains. Each project has a financial value attached to it in terms of how much the project will be worth in the market. The stakeholders know which user stories are important, and which functionalities will increase the value of the project. Therefore, they are the ideal individuals to define and create the list of requirements or the user stories. The product owner carries out the work on their behalf, and represents their interests while the project is being implemented.

·       Using simple tools to represent user stories
In the manual system, stories are written down on index or story cards specially designed for scrum. The scrum index cards are very convenient to work with, and are generally pinned on the scrum board while the sprint is underway. It is important to use a tool that is small in size, so it can be easily stored and pinned on the scrum board. It should be easily readable, simple to understand, and effective. The more simple and effective the tool is, the easier it would be for the team to understand and use it.

·       Time to be allotted to the user story
Scrum advocates time bound activities. Each activity in scrum has a certain duration associated with it, and is “time boxed”. It is important not to exceed the time limit to get the most out of scrum. Each user story is allotted a certain duration within which its development should be completed. It is essential that each user story is completed in the time allotted to it since it has a certain importance value (story points) attached to it. The project turns out to be cost effective only when the right duration of time is allotted to each user story, and each story is completed in the time allotted to it. If the time limit is not allotted, the project becomes expensive and its ROI decreases.

·       Describing and stating important non-functional aspects
Certain user stories need to be explained in further details so the team members can properly understand them. The user stories may be very important in terms of how they provide a solution for a particular end-user related requirement. They may or may not be technically complex, but it may be important for the team members to know what part the user stories are likely to play, and how much important they are as far as the overall project development is concerned. Such non-technical aspects of user stories should be explained properly so a better overview and understanding of the project related requirements is availed.  

·       Fixing the story priority
Each user story has a certain level of importance attached to it development. It is important to prioritize the user stories, so the correct time can be fixed for its development. Important user stories, or those which have more importance attached to their development, should be assigned a higher priority, and sufficient time should be allotted for completing them. On the other hand, less important stories ought to be assigned less time and priority because they do not carry much financial value with regards the functionality they offer. .

Monday, 23 June 2014

Does Agile Exist Once You Implement It In Your Project?

As on today, if you search for Agile, or Agile related information over the internet, you will be greeted with search result pages displaying all sorts of information pertaining to Agile – right from Agile training and coaching to Agile gurus offering their “esteemed” insights and experience relating to various Agile frameworks. More recently, it has become very common to see scaled versions of Agile appearing in the searches – SAFe, Scaled Agile, ScrumButs, AgileLive, Jira Agile, Quickscrum - the list is not big but worthy of being considered – and all of them proclaiming their efficiency in being “effective”, and above all “Agile”. It would be wonderful to know more about these versions, but a basic question always keeps on popping up – Is the client really following Agile in a true sense? Are you a hard-core Agile supporter or a ScrumBut? Maybe, it would be more worthwhile to ascertain whether you, or your client, are in fact following Agile in the first place, let alone other scaled versions of Agile.

Here are a couple of pointers to help you know if you are “Agile” or not.

Is development carried out through iterations?
Needless to say, the main purpose of implementing an Agile framework is to benefit through product increments in a consistent manner. Nobody can claim they’re following Agile if their project development process does not support regular product increments at the end of sprints. In addition to iterative development, Agile implementation should also support dynamic collaboration – sharing of feedback and information amongst the product owner, scrum master, scrum team, and the stakeholders. Iterative development and collaborative nature are Agile trademarks, and it is most essential for organisations to support these features if they claim to be Agile.

Can changes be incorporated during the product development cycle?
One of the main reasons why people opt for Agile is its ability to incorporate changes in the product definition even while the product development process is currently underway. It is a unique selling feature of all Agile frameworks, and is synonymous with developing a project while still maintaining its business value – at all times. Irrespective of the changes taking place in the market – whether big or small – the project development process should have, and retain, its capability to dynamically change the functionality developed, and offered, by the product features as and when necessary. Agile projects should support this feature.

Can development be carried out in “bits and pieces” rather than “as a whole”?
Perhaps what makes Agile frameworks so unique are their iterative structures supporting daily sprints. In scrum or XP, the product development is carried out in the form of daily sprints. Special events are held to plan the sprint (the sprint planningmeeting) and ensure that proper and acceptable product increments are availed at the end of sprints (sprint reviews and retrospectives). The development carried out in “bits and pieces” should result into shippable functionality (successfully developed user stories), and should also be acceptable to the project owners (stakeholders). “Small sized” consistent development, which is bug free, should have the capability to later integrate in a correct functional manner so as to form the “complete” product – an euphemism which conveys “Development in pieces to be later integrated to form the actual product.”

As on today, organisations are not just limited to using traditional versions of Agile frameworks. There are subtle variants, which can be scaled up or down as per the need, and which can be “tailored” to meet the unique project development needs of business concerns. It may not be possible to state or define the exact set of parameters which a project management methodology, or framework, should satisfy to be considered Agile, since Agile is all about “inspecting” and “adapting”. The main essence of Agile lies in its ability to change itself, its working, and mould itself to suit the specific development related needs, as the case may be.

However, it may be certainly possible to “check” for some “trademark” features to ascertain whether Agile exists in a project or not.

                              Use Free scrum tool from

Friday, 20 June 2014

Quickscrum - Tool to Consider

This tool for managing projects scrum type, to manage in a simple way the entire project, ie customer, product owner, members, assignments, sprints, priorities, task description, and even even graphs showing progress and evolution .
It's kind of collaborative, allowing dragging of objects, as is done for example in Trello , app that we use and we are very pleased also.
It can be used in free mode, up to 5 users, 3 projects but without any ability to store files, while offering other alternatives (fee-and not so expensive) that increase performance, of course. Right?
Say to prove it is worth it because it really is very easy and convenient to use.
To access the official site, I leave the link:
If someone was using it, would be nice to tell us what your opinion on this software is because it's like everything else, as you will be entering information and interacting with the app, you are giving certain situations to solve.
One thing I asked was if the development team can connect to applications like: Test link, Mantis or Redmine, and I responded that for the next release plan to incorporate a bug tracking.

It will be a matter of following your steps and see how this another module that also serves both us us.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Quickscrum- Scrum tool