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    Unearthing Agile Scrum methodology for Product Engineering

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    Project Management - Scrum Methodology

    Project management is not what it used to be earlier. Digital transformation and cloud has changed the game plan of organizations as far as product development or product engineering services are concerned. ISVs and enterprises need to push their product(s) off-the-shelf as quickly as possible or risk losing out to competitors who are breathing down their necks all the time. Faster product launches depend on which methodology is being adopted by organizations.

    Also, since their priority is on exploiting market opportunities and focusing on launching various new products or services sooner in the market, choosing the right methodology might just be the difference between winning and losing.

    Given the changing times, it is imperative for such organizations to consider a scalable and highly performing methodology to maximize their performance.

    Agile Scrum product development methodology is based on incremental and iterative product development process where solutions grow due to collaboration between cross-functional and self-organizing teams. Scrum has garnered the fame due to following points:

    • Simplicity and transparency of processes
    • Adaptive planning
    • Quick adaptability to change
    • Evolutionary development and delivery model
    • Iterative approach
    • Quick learning cycles
    • Automated testing offers a stable platform
    • Rapid market release
    • Integrated and flexible teams which can change requirements anytime based on user feedback

    Let’s explore how Cygnet supports organizations in product engineering with help of agile scrum methodology.

    Phases of Agile Scrum Model

    Product backlog generation

    Product Backlog is generated based on priority of the features which need to be implemented in the final product. It generally compromises of new features, enhancements, bugs, tasks and non-functional requirements. Each item in backlog is called user story and is placed in the list based on highest business importance. These user stories are further broken into tasks. This product backlog is created keeping business analysis and vision in mind.

    Product backlog is a live entity and designated product owner continuously makes amendment to it.

    Sprint planning meeting to create sprint backlog

    The product backlog from the previous stage is passed on to the team to clear product vision. The project manager and team review user stories to develop plans and break them into specific tasks with planning poker approach. This data is further used to decide the following during sprint planning meeting:

    • Release planning schedule
    • Duration/length of sprint
    • Estimate tasks
    • Generate sprint backlog
    • Labor cost
    • Scope of work to be done during each sprint
    • Decide work to be done for other sprints
    • Groom stories for better features and functionalities

    The first sprint backlog would consist of the top priority tasks and its duration would help the team release the working version of the product. Shorter sprint duration results in incorporating client’s feedback more often; ultimately revealing possible bugs and errors on time. However, longer sprint allows developers to work thoroughly.

    Working on the Sprint

    Once the team is done with generating sprint backlog the development stage begins. Here the continuous project monitoring phase will begin. It is done with the help of tools like Jira, AgileWrap, ScrumDO etc.

    A team of analyst generates wireframes based on sprint backlog tasks which is given to product owner for approval. The main goal of this process is to show how the product will work and look and make sure all the stakeholders are on the same page. With the progress of project these wireframes are used to verify any error in the plan.

    A team of designers design the interface, elements and theme of the product as per the requirement of client and user stories. These screen samples of applications are sent to owner for approval which is later configured if required.

    The development team or programming team initiate development process once the designs are finalized. They are responsible to deliver potential shippable increments of product i.e. PSIs to client at end of each sprint. Here pair-programming, unit testing, peer reviews are done to develop the product. This written code is sent to testing team to fix bugs and errors.

    Product testing and demonstration

    Given the ideal outcome of the entire sprint cycle is to generate a working product, testing forms an inevitable part of the life-cycle of scrum model. Here automation is included in QA to extract precise and accurate results. The approach of automating the software QA allows cost saving, addition of new test cases along with ongoing development process and increase in test coverage of application.

    The result of every sprint is demonstrated to product owner for user acceptance testing and based on the outcome the stakeholders decide about project changes. Once the approval and acceptance is done the PSI is shipped to the client.

    Retrospective and next sprint planning

    The end of scrum life-cycle is retrospective and next sprint planning to discuss the outcomes and results of the sprint. Here the problems are determined and observed again to improve the development process for next sprint such as time taken for delivery, performance of the PSI, devise strategies for effective progress of the project and improve process. The team undergoes brainstorming sessions to determine what went right or wrong in the project and what can be done to improve the future iteration. Once the team settles the next sprint planning initiates.

    A burn down chart is prepared in these scrum meetings to determine how many tasks were completed and what remained incomplete. These charts impart an ability to development team to control the entire development process and update it every day. Even before the delivery of each sprint, the product backlog is once again analyzed and reprioritized as per necessity and the next set of requirements or user stories are selected for the next Sprint. The development and testing and acceptance phases for previous sprints keep on happening in the cycle in the back-end.

    Another Approach of Cygnet for Agile Scrum

    Some projects require the wireframing and designing to be accepted before sprint planning. This is done to avoid any kind of designing or development errors in the later stages of the project. There is a possibility that client might change the paradigm of the project by viewing the wireframes and designs.

    This cycle follows wireframing and designing approval prior to sprint planning. Once the wireframes and designs are accepted the team conducts sprint planning meeting where each sprint backlog is made as per the client; the team clarifies the scope and notes acceptance criteria for development stages. The rest of the process remain same as per scrum life-cycle mentioned above.

    But wait! There’s more

    For any project, transparency is important to know what is being delivered and what was expected. Frequent inspections help the team to detect variances and ensure progress. Cygnet follows scrum events for better project delivery like daily scrum which is important to continuously monitor the performance of project, by the client and the project team. Thus, a scrum meeting is conducted daily where progress of team is monitored by going through planned work for next meeting or any impediments which may be blocking the team’s progress.

    Trend Analysis

    Cygnet’s development team follows a thorough trend analysis sessions after each sprint completion to determine and regulate the extent to which the processes of scrum meet the expectations for continuous and steady product delivery and maintain the optimum quality of the product.

    Analysis of data for on time delivery, major open bugs, static code analysis warning, performance criteria, unit testing coverage percentage, regression automation percentage etc. are carried out to learn the effectiveness of their process from previous sprints. Maintaining and studying these charts helps the team to understand the trends of project planning. Furthermore, it also helps to change them to improve efficiency of the project as per the activity required to be done in beginning, middle or end of sprint.

    The practice of continuous integration and continuous delivery of product allows the team to reduce the issues of integration and allow robust deployment of system. It also helps them to produce the product in short cycles and ensure the release can be done on right time. Moreover, this approach helps the product owner to regulate Return on Investment and set project objectives and goal in right direction early, along with receiving a high valued product.

    Final words!

    When talking about managing IT projects, merely thinking agile is no longer an option, instead it is a core requirement. Agile Scrum approach will introduce a quick adaptive process to the organizations, helping them break down huge projects into quick sprints.

    However, the million-dollar question is – “Are you basking the benefits of agile scrum methods for your product engineering?” Let Cygnet help you deliver a great functional product with high value features in short cycles.

About Cygnet

Our motto ‘IT is About You’ is more than just a tag line – it is the very heart of Cygnet. We always ensure the continued success of our clients and employees by placing problem solving ahead of anything else and walking the extra mile when needed.