It is my opinion that Agile – Scrum is the next big thing for New Product Development. In a nut shell rather than build to a specification, Agile – Scrum aims to build the most important features first. Then cycle them back to the customer to use and experience. The customer then gives the Agile Team feedback, which the Agile – Scrum Team incorporates into the next iteration.
The beauty of this approach it that it naturally drives resources towards the features in a product that the customer decides are important. This organic flow puts the customer on the team from start to finish. Usually the customer is put at the end of the process where the product is a done deal. This lead to multiple revisions and corrections that is if the product can even be modified.
Agile is new founded in 2001. The key elements are found in the Agile Manifesto:
Individuals and interactions over Process and tools
Work Product over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a set plan
The key roles in the Agile – Scrum Process are:
1. Product owner – Product Manager: provides the product vision
2. Scrum Master: coaches the team, facilitates the process
3. Team: cross functional, decide how the work gets done, self organizing
The product owner = what and why
The Team = How
Scrum teams work in sprints that last 1 to 4 weeks that is just long enough to produce some form of product. That product may be drawings, sketches, a rapid prototype that is taken to the customer for evaluation and feedback. That feedback is incorporated into the next sprint. Teams meet briefly every day and at the end of each sprint have a retrospective to review what went well and where to improve. This feedback within the team drives self-improvement within the team.
It is not that Agile-Scrum is faster for the same amount of work; it is that the work done is relevant to the customers’ needs. So the less important features may not all get done.
Simplicity = the art of maximizing the work that is not done, is essential.
In the end Agile – Scrum is “It’s about getting things out/done so you can get customer feedback”.