Small business owners need to wear several hats to ensure smooth operation within their organizations. From tracking every single dollar to ensuring the business is functioning smoothly, a lot needs to be taken care of. As the development processes become more complex, it has become important for business owners to choose a project management methodology that simplifies their tasks.
The question that immediately arises here is: What project management methodology or tool is right for your small business?
The type of methodologies and tools required depends on the type of projects, the project management style, and the team size. However, agile project management is often the best approach for small businesses.
According to Wikipedia, ‘agile management is an iterative, incremental method of managing the design and build activities of engineering, information technology and other business areas that aim to provide new product or service development in a highly flexible and interactive manner.’ When it comes to agile management, Scrum is the first choice.
What is Scrum?
The Scrum Guides defines Scrum as ‘a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.’ Scrum is a lightweight framework that is specifically designed for small and close-knit teams like those in small development companies.
Scrum divides the entire project into various small modules, also known as sprints; and each module is assigned to a small team. The teams accomplish the assigned tasks for the final completion of the project (as shown in the above illustration).
While Scrum project management methodology is fit for just about any project, you still need to verify if it is suitable for your business.
The next section will discuss some of the advantages of Scrum that can help you determine whether or not this agile project management methodology is suitable for your organization.
Advantages of Scrum
Unlike traditional project management, Scrum does not try to address the entire problem in the beginning. Rather, it creates smaller sprints, which offer enough room for changes (within the development cycle) to match the changing business priorities. Scrum methodology is extremely flexible, which means team members can ‘inspect and adapt’ to the changes and focus on improving deliverables.
Some of the other benefits of using Scrum methodology are:
1. Better Quality and Happier Customers
Scrum ensures better-quality products and happier customers. By defining and elaborating the project requirements just in time and by building the products iteratively and incrementally, companies are able to develop high-quality products quicker and more efficiently.
The team can receive customer feedback at every stage of development, and implement it to ensure the creation of a product that customers will be ready to pay for. To understand this better, let’s take the example of Web app development, wherein you first develop the front-end and release the beta version to get feedback from end users.
You then implement the changes (based on the feedback) into the existing Web app for a better outcome and subsequently move on to integrating the back-end to complete the Web app development. This ensures a less bug-y app, which users will be willing pay for.
2. Reduced Product Costs and Decreased Marketing Time
By adopting Scrum, companies can develop products faster. This, in turn, means you can release the products faster and offer value to end users. This is possible because the initial documentation phases of traditional project management are done with, and the high-priority requirements are addressed first. Quicker initiation and accomplishment of development and reduced errors (re-works) lead to cost-effective development and better ROI.
3. Increased Control over the Project
Scrum team members can take better control of the project and make changes whenever and wherever necessary. Since Scrum teams work in short bursts, they can adjust priorities at regular intervals rather than at major milestones. This helps them react to external factors and control the project accordingly. This also ensures reduced risks. Moreover, Scrum teams can address issues as soon as they arise and ensure better-quality products.
4. Better Collaboration
Scrum allows team members to take responsibility and ownership of the quality of the deliverables. The product owner, the Scrum master, and the development team work closely in organizing the course of development, addressing roadblocks, and reporting the completed work. Decisions are taken by the team as a whole, so there are fewer conflicts.
5. Happier Development Teams
Happy employees engender quicker growth for the company. Scrum allows team members to be more creative and innovative, and take responsibility for the work they do. It also encourages better communication and collaboration among team members, which increases trust and transparency and reduces frustrations.
Scrum team members can learn new skills when working on a sprint and hone them by helping others. The typical command-and-control methods involved in the traditional project management method can be avoided, which leads to healthier relationships between the employees, leaders, and the owner.
6. More Organized Workplace
Improved efficiency and performance is what makes small businesses successful. Hence, small business owners look for project management methods that help them keep the workplace organized and ensure efficiency in the development processes. Scrum does a great job here. It helps organizations avoid issues such as misplaced documents and miscommunication, and takes guesswork out the project.
Everyone involved in the development process knows their responsibilities and has a clear vision of where the project is headed. By staying focused and coordinating their efforts, the teams can accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently.
The business landscape has become a lot more dynamic and complex. In order to ensure the success of your organization, you need to adopt a project management methodology that ensures quicker accomplishment of tasks and reduces risks. Scrum methodology has proven to be beneficial for a number of small businesses and helped them achieve business goals effectively. By adopting Scrum, you can ensure not only the success of your organization, but also the production of better-quality products, resulting in happier customers.
Finally, a quick run-down of how Scrum can help your small business:
- Better collaboration
- Quick response to change
- Better-quality products
- Reduced risks
- Happier customers
- Lower development cost and
- Well-organized workplace
Scrum is suitable for businesses that value innovation. Hence, evaluate your requirements and integrate Scrum into the development process for better efficiency and performance.