Continuing on a recent theme, we are going to look at new trends in workplace thought and strategy modelling. Many startups are now in need of freelancers and gig-economy workers due to the Coronavirus, and what is trending is a desire to have contractors, freelancers and self-employed people experienced in things like ‘’scrum’’ and ‘’agile’’.
In line with things like monetising your skillset, this is becoming a new staple of the gig economy, so, what is it and should you know more about it?
A definition of agile project management
What is agile project management? The first - and probably the most concise - definition of agile project management comes from the agile manifest itself:
- Individuals and interactions are above processes and tools
- Working software is above a comprehensive documentation
- Cooperation with the customer is above the contract negotiation
- Responding to change is about following a plan
From this somewhat opaque summary, we can derive a more precise definition: agile project management is an iterative development concept that places great value on interpersonal communication and feedback, the reaction to changes and the creation of functioning results. Let’s take a closer look at that.
Agile project management is iterative, which means it happens in phases (sprints), with each sprint building on and improving what was achieved and learned in the previous sprint. This is where the Scrum concept comes into play. Gartner Research Director Nathan Wilson said at the 2017 Gartner PPM Summit: "Scrum is a way to organize work to create agility."
Agile is a concept and a way of thinking. It is not a textbook, a list of instructions, or a certification. Turning agile project management methods into black and white formulated templates would even contradict everything that defines agile. It would be like giving someone detailed, step-by-step instructions for being cool or playing jazz. Nonetheless, there is project management software that was created to ensure agility.
Agile project management is all about efficient communication instead of documentation, nested email threads and constant meetings. The 12 principles behind the Agile Manifesto say, "The most efficient and effective way to convey information to and within a development team is face-to-face."
Well, in fairness, this was created pre-Corona. Ha! But the point is, if you can communicate something through a ten-second conversation instead of an e-mail, you should do it. This is where Daily Scrum comes in. Agile is about producing tangible, working results with every iteration.
What is SCRUM?
The Scrum method is an agile project management method and was developed so that product teams can work together more effectively. The main feature of Scrum is that it is a simple framework that helps teams work better together on complex projects. The method focuses on collaboration, self-management and organization, flexibility and adaptation.
Scrum uses the idea of empirical process control, for example, the actual progress is observed and not only a forecast is made to plan and schedule a project. The schedules are divided into short events, also called “sprints”, and after completing a sprint, the completed tasks and activities are evaluated and the Scrum team can make necessary changes to the project goals.
The Scrum method is popular with managers and software developers, for example, because it has a simple set of rules that defines the roles and responsibilities of the Scrum team. It is very effective because instead of giving team members specific tasks, they are given a set of goals so that they can decide for themselves and develop their own tactics on how to achieve the goals most effectively.
The constant progress monitoring in short intervals enables a quick reaction to necessary changes and helps the team to see what it has already achieved in this time.
The Scrum method was developed for teams to cope with complex product development tasks and offers them a simple set of rules to cope with the complexity of the process: the three Scrum roles and the Scrum events (sprints). Let’s take a closer look at those roles: