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How do I make Scrum and Agile work?

Posted by David Pledger

Tags: Agile, Scrum, Lean

Agile is an approach for completing work by a collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams; agile encourages a flexible response to change because that’s what is needed in business. Scrum is an agile framework that has been used to manage work on complex products since the early 1990’s. Scrum differs from agile because it is not a specific process, technique or method; it’s an outline to refer to when employing specific processes and techniques. Scrum and agile can help your teams become more productive, accomplish more short-term goals, and increased collaboration and morale.

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Your business is likely using a top-down approach known as a “waterfall”. This generally involves a manager or senior member of the company assigning projects to teams to get done. This usually means the stages of the projects are worked in consecutive order from conception to design to implementation. The main issue with this type of management is that if there’s an obstacle, it will likely lead to the entire project starting over. This can be extremely difficult, especially if there’s a tight budget on the project. Utilizing an agile approach to management can help combat this obstacle, specifically using scrum, the most widely used Agile method.


Scrum is used to break down projects into smaller tasks, thus allowing teams to deliver on a more frequent basis. This  promotes collaboration and flexibility; this helps defend against one major problem handicapping the entire project. This can help also respond to client demands and the market at large. Scrum has few project team roles that dictate who does what in the team. The first role in the ScrumMaster. The ScrumMaster ensures the goal of the project is understood and focuses on removing any obstacles in the process. The ScrumMaster is the more managerial role in the team. The Product Owner is the second role, they focus more on the business side of the project to ensure that the budget is sufficient for the project and ensure everyone knows their priorities. Lastly, there is the development team. The development team are empowered to manage their own work; this optimizes the Scrum team’s overall efficiency.


To implement Scrum, your Scrum team needs a product backlog that shows what the team should focus on and build next. The next step in making Scrum work is to schedule sprints in which your team will accomplish a task in an allotted time. Sprints include sprint planning, sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives. All of this is focused on refining and bettering the next sprint for your team, so more work can be accomplished. The next integral part of your Scrum team is your Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is a short, highly-focused daily meeting in which the main work that is being done is discussed. This helps promote quick decision-making and team transparency. All of these parts of the Scrum team helps improve each sprint cycle and leads to a better final product in a shorter amount of time.

Still have questions?  Check out Agile Enablement.