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A Quick Definition of Scrum

In project management, the process of Agile development is dependent on a pretty important element: the “scrum” — a quick meeting designed to level-set before work begins. Here's how Blend puts it to use.

4/26/2022

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  • Project Management

In project management, the process of Agile development is dependent on a pretty important element: the “scrum” — a quick meeting designed to level-set before work begins.

The term actually comes from rugby. In rugby, a scrum is a way of restarting a play after an infringement — essentially, an on-field reset button. It’s 16 burly bodies attempting to push the opposition to gain control of the ball. In order to win the ball, or keep the ball, rugby teams benefit from countless scrum training sessions.

This allows the team to practice the set over and over until it becomes second nature.

This carries over to Agile methodology. The Agile mindset believes in building things quickly for launch, and then fixing the pieces as you go. The “scrum” represents an ongoing conversation as you move through the process. It’s what keeps all the pieces afloat and keeps you on track towards your end goal.

It’s the team coming together for an on-field reset — it’s what Blend uses to keep our eye on the ball.

Blend’s history of scrum.

Blend founder Joe Kepley came from the banking world, so he saw first-hand how a slow process could impede work from getting accomplished. Decisions would go through too many hoops and touch too many hands.

This is where adoption of the Agile process comes in. 

Agile takes what could be a slow process and breaks it into manageable chunks. These chunks not only push the team towards the end goal, but do so in a way that can be adapted and moved quickly.

While Agile methodology focuses on “sprints” — week or two-week periods that represent a chunk of work, after which the plan is revisited — Blend has adapted this to include a second unit of time: “epics.” Epics represent a point in which we demo or hand over a significant portion of the site to our clients. If a sprint is a set of rugby plays, an epic might be seen as a full quarter in a rugby game.

What this means is that, every sprint, we are doing something on the project to move it closer to a set goal. Sometimes that goal is to complete the current epic. Sometimes, we’re working toward the final launch date. Every sprint, work is constantly happening, and the scrum keeps each member of the team aligned and moving forward.

In other words, we set priorities, and the Agile process keeps us focused on the plan and allows our developers to self-manage as well. The sprint outlines what needs to get done this week, and we do it.

Less rugby, more success.

Let’s face it — building a website rarely takes 16 burly bodies attempting to win control.

But scrum keeps the team aligned, on track and in control of the project. It gives every member the time to ask questions and dig in on potential issues they see lying ahead.

If you are struggling on approaching your next project, consider implementing these quick check-ins to keep your team on track and in control of the ball. 

Resources on project management.

We’ve written at length, both here and beyond, on project management.

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Episode 24: Maintain and Improve (w/ David Hobbs) Off-site link

Corey and Deane discuss the people and rules that help run a website after launch. Then, David Hobbs, author of Website Product Management: Keeping Focused During Change, joins to talk about transferring a site from a project to a product — what that means to keep the site going after launch, where it most often fails, and how to streamline requests and set reasonable expectations for the future of the site.

October 17, 2023 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Episode 23: Plan for Post-Launch Operations (w/ Meghan Casey) Off-site link

Corey and Deane talk about the idea of a web operations framework. Then, Meghan Casey, content strategist and author of The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right, joins to talk about content governance and ongoing maintenance — how humans are nearly always the problem (but not the humans you might think), the things you can do to plan for post-launch content, and how to deromanticize the bit launch in favor of content maintenance.

September 20, 2023 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Check out more articles on the project management process.