Scrum Is Just The Medium, The Core Is The Team's Mindset
During the first chapter of the book Show Dog by Phil Knight (which is, by the way, an excellent piece of art) the Nike co-founder mentions a General George S. Patton quote: "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."
Why am I starting my first blog article with this quote? I realized that I’d heard a similar sentence a few weeks ago. It was at our Christmas party, when our boss Martin evaluated the last year. He didn't speak for too long, but, among other things, he praised the team for being able to invent a completely tailor-made solution on our own and without him needing to guide us. He was proud of his team’s absolute independence. Most importantly, this approach is also appreciated by clients.
Then I realized that this is exactly what Scrum methodology is about, and, in close connection with the company's values, creates a powerful tool that takes quality and work to a completely different level.
It's not only about method change
I would skip that eternal discussion on whether Waterfall or Agile is better. I’ll speak based only on my personal experience.
Waterfall methodology is based on strict adherence to the rules covering all areas of the project. From my personal experience, I can say that this is a relatively inefficient way of managing projects. Waterfall methodology provides too little feedback from the client, something that is essential in all projects, but especially in IT, software and application development.
The Agile method Scrum is a more modern way of helping to eliminate Waterfalls' weaknesses. Its biggest advantage is higher project success, immediate client feedback at regular two-week intervals, higher satisfaction of the development team, etc. But it's not only about method change!
The main goal is client satisfaction and trust
In addition to entertainment and freedom, CloseIT's corporate values also include professionalism and responsibility. These values, combined with Scrum, give our clients the ultimate experience in addition to a functional and reliable solution that takes his business to another level. But these sentences are mere phrases. What gives them the right dimension is client satisfaction and trust you can see in their testimonials.
"From the very first moment of the project, I was surprised by the solution-oriented approach, thanks to which we were able to solve all problems relatively quickly." ~ Christian Steinlechner, Senior Risk Solution Manager at Raiffeisen Bank International
"This was a clear example of agility. CloseIT was presenting a steady development in regular iterations as the tool was progressively taking shape. The speed of development was impressive. From zero to functional prototype in 3 months!" ~ Deyan Ivanov, Head of Retail Risk Methodology & Validation at Raiffeisen Bank International
These testimonials are not proof of Scrum methodology but of the approach of the whole team, and that is the reason why I quoted Gen. Patton and our boss (ordered by military rank) at the beginning of this article.
The complete solution that clients receive from us is designed by our entire team in close coordination with the client (the so-called product owner). And what clients appreciate is that we are not only thinking about the technical solution but also focusing on the business side of the problem. Exactly this way of working is something that no methodology, even Scrum, can guarantee. The specific cooperation with the client and how the individual phases of Scrum work in CloseIT we will discuss in other articles. So don't worry, we'll get to it.
Sorry, I don't work in Scrum
And what is the main idea and also the magic of the mentioned professionalism and responsibility? Our team approach.
At the beginning of every two-weeks, the entire team agrees on a list of stories, tasks and anything that they will deliver to the client by the end of the period. Every single story, task, and bug is registered in both online and physical dashboards. Because everyone on the team has agreed on all the tasks, they can also see what everyone is working on. This is beneficial because each team member is committed and personally responsible for completing not only his task or story, but the completion of the entire sprint.
Having the entire team follow this structure allows us not to worry about whether our developers come to work at 6 AM or just before lunch, whether they work from the office, cafe or home. And that's the freedom. For this reason, we choose people with a similar mindset for our team. They know from the very beginning what to expect and what processes we are using.
Sometimes applicants tell us they do not work in Scrum, but these people don't work at CloseIT. As I previously said, it is not only about methodology. Scrum is just the medium, but the key to success is the team's mindset and approach.
Author: Michal Jilka