Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What "scrum" may mean to you...

In the team sport of Rugby, a scrum is a formation where each team's forwards lock their arms together and then use their feet to try to get possession of the ball. These days, however, people working in various industries -- software development in particular -- are hearing more and more about scrum as an increasingly popular methodology for agile development, which introduces new production efficiencies and, many believe, also produces better products and results. It sounds like a viable new approach at embracing operational innovation to me, and I thought I'd briefly try to convey its tenets and strengths here, and point you to some further resources.


In the February issue of Game Developer Magazine, you can read a great article on scrum from Clinton Keith, the CTO of High Moon Studios, and get a better sense of what it is, how it can be implemented, and the impact it may have on your operation. I also recommend this interesting and informative blog entry on Lost Garden entitled "Rockets, Cars and Gardens: Visualizing waterfall, agile and stage gate," which sheds more light on innovative development practices. These days, the term 'workflow' is dominating discussions of film and TV post-production, as industry professionals figure out how to use new technologies and efficiencies to complete their projects. In short, scrum has a similar importance in the world of software development, suggesting we break tasks down into smaller pieces, allow them to be managed by smaller, more agile teams, and then present our work to groups of customers or end-users at regular intervals throughout the project, using their input and guidance to direct activities moving forward. With all forms of businesses becoming more streamlined and new efficiencies being required to keep them afloat, as strange as it may sound, scrumming may prove to be a key to success for all of us....