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Sprints and scrums and not a sportsperson in sight

I don’t think the extent of planning and organisation that occurs when developing software is actually understood. The entire process, even before the team begins working and most definitely during the process is an extensive and timeous process. Different companies use different processes of working. For Smudge, we believe in the agile methodology when it comes to software development.

Agile methodology is a process where a software development project is broken down into prioritised, manageable bundles known as sprints, with each sprint worked on, reviewed, amended and approved before the team moves on to the next sprint. This process continues until the project is completed. Breaking up the project into these manageable bundles allows for changes that occur in the industry during product development to be taken into account ensuring that the final product is both current and industry relevant.

Involved in this software development methodology are three key roles – the product owner, the scrum master and the scrum team. The scrum master helps to keep the scrum team, those creating the software, on track and to be there to support the process. The product owner focuses on what the final product needs to be and is involved with the development from the onset to final approval. These three roles work together to ensure that a professional, relevant product is the final result.

Where does it begin?

There are different processes that occur during the agile methodology but one of the most important is sprint planning.

The sprint planning meeting is where all three roles come together to begin the project and plan the first sprint. At this meeting it is determined which tasks are priority and will be added to the sprint, as well as who is responsible for each action. A sprint meeting takes place at the beginning of each new sprint.

The scrum master and the product owner focus on the overall planning, with the product owner discussing with the rest of the team the most important product features that need to be worked on with the final product in mind.

During these meetings the product owner is responsible for reviewing, selecting and presenting the product backlog items – a list of new features, changes to existing features, bug fixes, infrastructure changes and anything else that may be needed to achieve the required outcome. This meeting will include many questions from the team to the product owner, to clarify any unknowns, and can sometimes span hours.

The scrum team

Once all this information has been given and assessed, the sprint meeting will continue with the scrum team finalising a deadline, a common goal and how it will all work together. The product owner does not need to be a part of this strategy meeting, but the scrum master is tasked with keeping the scrum team focused and on track. After the scrum team has reviewed all the information, they will be able to present to the product owner a forecast and evaluate the functionality of how everything will work. Once this strategy is approved a deadline is set for completion of the sprint.

Backlog refinement

During sprints backlog refinement occurs on a regular basis, and is when the three roles review items on the backlog to make sure that the appropriate items are listed and prioritised, and that the items at the top of the backlog are ready for delivery. This is done to make sure that the product remains relevant and efficient.