How ProdPad Fits With Scrum
This is part of our “How ProdPad Fits” pages. See our other “How ProdPad Fits” pages.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is a framework for developing software which fits with the agile methodology.
Scrum enables a self-organizing development team to break down their work into chunks of time, or sprints. These sprints will involve having the team develop a hypothesis of work to be done in a set amount of time (usually between 2-4 weeks), then reflect on how they did at the end of that cycle.
Using the Scrum framework
Scrum has certain key roles to help aid and facilitate the execution of the framework.
The product owner is a role on the scrum team, responsible for prioritizing the sprint backlog based on discovery work done before sprint planning starts. The product owner is responsible for being the “voice of the customer” , and to ensure that the problem is solved in a way that provides value for the user. The product owner role may be fulfilled by a product manager, or in larger teams it may be a different person who works closely with the product management team.
Ultimately, the product owner is responsible for accepting the work done by the sprint team, and confirming that it solves the problem for its intended user.
The scrum master acts as a bridge between the development team and stakeholders. They help ensure that agile principles are being followed and get everyone onboard with the scrum and agile processes. It is above anything a leadership role, focused on facilitating the implementation of the scrum framework. The scrum master is responsible for identifying blockers and removing impediments to progress. The scrum master usually leads the regular agile ceremonies such as the daily scrum/standup, sprint review, sprint planning and sprint retrospective.
Developer (Development Team)
Developers are there to implement and execute the specifications written with the product owner, and planned directly into the current sprint. Their main objective is to complete the work planned based on the outcome set by the product team.
Process and ceremonies
Sprint planning is an agile ceremony when the team decides which work will be done during the sprint. This work may include new features and improvements as well as bug fixes to be implemented and the paydown of technical debt. The key here is to have a balanced set of work with a cadence of iteration that the team can complete in the set period of time.
The potential candidates for sprint planning are set ahead of time by the product owner and listed in priority order. The team estimates the size of each piece of work before bringing it into the sprint.
Over the course of a number of sprints the team is able to calculate their velocity (the volume of work that is possible within a sprint). This often takes a few sprints to establish, but makes planning easier in future sprints as the team becomes familiar with what is achievable.
A daily scrum is a short daily session where the team coordinates their work for the day. Each team member states (briefly) what they did yesterday, what they’re working on today, and whether they have any blockers to progress. The session is facilitated by the scrum master, who is then responsible for working to remove any blockers which are raised during the meeting.
This meeting is often referred to as a “standup” as when the team are co-located, it’s deemed good practice to stand rather than sit, to encourage the team to keep it short and focused on progress rather than a status update.
In the sprint review, the development team showcases the work that has been completed to the rest of the business, so they are informed about recent changes, understand how to support customers. For larger changes, a dedicated meeting may occur prior to launch to ensure the business is operationally ready (and should come at the end of a longer launch readiness process).
As the sprint comes to an end, the entire team will sit together to assess the work done. Did they complete everything they set out to do? Were there any challenges? What can they learn from the previous sprint which will improve the way the next sprint runs? Retrospectives are a chance for the whole team to discuss how the project is going, what is working well and what could be improved, ensuring that future sprints become more productive, easier to manage and that outcomes will become more predictable.
What are the benefits of scrum?
There are many benefits of using the Scrum framework, some of the benefits include:
- Helping teams work productively by keeping them focused on short, easy to achieve goals which benefit the longer term strategy
- Keeping delivery on schedule, on budget and with more predictable outcomes
- The development process is flexible, efficient and sustainable
- Increased communication and cooperation between team members
- Short iterations encourage innovation and the ability to react to changes in planning at short notice
How ProdPad Fits
Scrum is designed for the execution of items already validated and approved by the product team. Primarily, ProdPad is there to help the product team (and the product owner) understand what items to work on, why, and how this benefits their customers.
By grouping together ideas under problems to solve, the product owner is able to prioritize which ideas need to go through discovery first and ensure the upcoming sprints are focused on solving market problems. The lean roadmap also encourages iteration and continuous improvement, ensuring that the scrum process doesn’t result in a “Feature Factory”. Sprint teams have greater visibility into “the big picture” so they understand how their work fits into the wider strategy.
The product manager gathers all the potential ideas for product improvement into the Idea backlog, which can be used through the discovery process to identify the right solutions to user problems. By using filters and impact/effort scoring, the product manager can identify which ideas are the most important and link them to the relevant problems on the roadmap. This in turn helps with prioritization.
Workflows and integrations
ProdPad’s workflow allows ideas to progress through the process of discovery -> specification -> development -> measuring success. This helps the product owner understand which ideas require discovery and specification so that they are working on the right ideas for the upcoming sprint planning session. Within each workflow stage, the product owner can also prioritize the ideas (top to bottom) ensuring that everyone understands what is most important when sprint planning takes place.
Once the idea is pushed to development’s tool of choice using the relevant integration, ProdPad’s workflow stage is kept up to date based on a mapping to development, meaning that business stakeholders can see a simplified version of the development process and understand how progress is being made by reviewing the roadmap or checking out the idea itself.
The primary goal of all product teams is to solve problems for their customers! ProdPad’s customer feedback module allows the customer’s voice to be heard, and helps the product team understand which problems are the most important to solve, and how those problems affect the customer. By hearing the customer’s own words, the product team is more likely to solve the problem in a way that is acceptable to the customer.