Getting fit for the future through Agile Scrum.

SCRUM

In the ever-changing and competitive Digital environment that we all operate in, agility and the capacity to adapt is extremely desirable. If consumers expect more features on a website, faster checkout options and a continuous flow of quality content, why shouldn’t we strive for it? In essence, that’s what being future fit is all about being poised and always ready for what comes next.

 

It’s no surprise for us at Sagittarius that more than half of the brands we engage with are moving away from fixed priced projects and deliverables to longer-term ‘always-on’ relationships. Our operating model serves this trend and not only allows our clients to have a dedicated team and consistent resource but also releases them from the constraints of deliverables and costs. 

Central to this kind of approach sits Scrum. It may not be something you’re familiar with or you may hear it used quite often but nobody has taken the time to simplify it for you.
In a nutshell, it’s a process framework that is used to manage complex product development, encourage collaboration and team-ship plus ensure transparent communication between a partner (us) and client (you). The benefit of this approach is the ability to provide your end-user or customer with a new ‘shippable’ feature at the end of each short period of effort/development called a sprint cycle.  

A scrum team can either be stand-alone (i.e. the partner provides the team) or augmented (i.e. a mixture of your development team and the partner). In both models, this team will be working together to deliver and add a working feature to your website. Then they move to the next feature (incremental product improvement in 2-week cycles). 

When we build an augmented team (under something we call our Business Transformation Retainer model) membership includes: 

Product Owner – their role is to maximise the value of the product, managing and prioritising the Product Backlog as well as being the central decision-maker. They need to be extremely close to our clients and are proactive in all Scrum ceremonies. 
Scrum Master – their role is very different to a traditional Project Manager. They are more of a coach and facilitator within the team to ensure that Scrum is understood and being adopted properly. They drive efficiency through guidance and elevate any reported blockers.
Engineering team – the skillset mix is really dependant on your current technology stack. For us, as a Sitecore specialist agency, we have one Sitecore Front end developer, one Back end developer and support from a Business Analyst and Quality Assurance Tester. These members are empowered by the team to organise and manage their own work in order to deliver in increments. 

The optimum size for a Scrum team is between 3-9 members and these individuals should be dedicated to your account, becoming an extension of your team. Additional team members from other skillsets can also be added depending on the challenges at hand and this can often include Sitecore Optimisation consultants or SEO, PPC and CRO experts. As you can imagine, when forming your new joint team it does take time for everyone to become familiar with the brand, business objectives and day-to-day cadence and culture of the group so allow up to 5 sprints (10 weeks) to achieve the right level of velocity. 

Scrum ceremonies

These ceremonies introduce consistency, encourage team-ship, promote transparency, assess opportunities and allow for adaptation. Depending on the agreed Sprint cycles, the duration will vary but the format and order will not. 

Hang on… Scrum sounds like there is no planning involved? 
No panic needed. The short answer is that there is definitely planning involved. Its easier to appreciate if we step back further and take the bigger picture view and how the Scrum Ceremonies identified fit into the overall Product Vision.  We support our clients to deliver these plans through all five realms.

 

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If you’re already using Scrum effectively then this simple guide might be useful for your colleagues that sit away from delivery but still want to ensure their thinking is fit for the future. If not and it sounds like an interesting step forward then we’d love to talk and perhaps we can support the coaching, facilitation, and implementation of Agile Scrum within your brand. We are always ready to offer the expertise and deliver successful always-on augmented expertise for your team. 

Please get in touch, we would love to talk to you and help kickstart your digital fitness! 

 
 

Joanne Reid
Joanne Reid
Head of Project Management
Joanne is an experienced Project Manager who has previously worked for other Kent based and international agencies. Joanne is responsible for managing a range of digital projects from inception to completion. 
Joanne Reid

Joanne Reid

17 Mar 2021 - 5 minute read
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