How Scrum Helps in Times of Uncertainty

An unprecedented pandemic, a horrifying war, and an upheaval in the job market due to the fall in investment. How does Scrum fit into all of this? Scrum gives us a framework on which to stand in the IT industry in such uncertain times. All the info in this article, with the opinions of Matías Reina and Gabriel Ledesma.

By Natalie Rodgers

Globally, we have been experiencing great uncertainty and turmoil in every way. We have been going through a historic pandemic, with unprecedented human and economic repercussions. We are experiencing a war between Ukraine and Russia that is putting the lives of millions of people at risk, wreaking havoc on mental health, and impacting the world’s economy.

On the other hand, there is currently a lot of commotion in the job market in various industries: many large companies are buying startups, and the IT industry is consolidating into a few players.

How does Scrum relate to all this? The creation of quality software is crucial for society’s development and the improvement of its quality of life. We live in a globalized and almost wholly interconnected world, in which permanent digital transformation is a fact and good quality technology makes a real difference in people’s daily lives.

“Our greatest impact lies in what the technology we create enables, and that this technology is of good quality,” emphasized Abstracta CEO Matías Reina. And he exemplified: “Through technology, we helped manage the pandemic in Uruguay in a better way. We helped public education teachers to get paid on time, and farmers in Mexico and other countries to better market their products. We brought financial services to more people, made medicine more intuitive, and created new technologies for new treatments.

So much so that, for example, in times of pandemic in Abstracta we collaborated with the testing of CoronavirusUY: we helped develop the application in record time and collaborated with other companies in the area.

“We empower technologies that are enabling software to be made faster and with quality, we help create more accessible technology, and more people have access to communications infrastructures. When we analyze what we do in each project and with each client, we don’t just think about the products themselves but about what they enable, how their technology extends and improves the quality of life of many people,” Matías pointed out.

Scrum gives us a framework and a base on which to sustain ourselves and continue acting in the IT industry, which is crucial in such uncertain times, in order to always keep aiming at growth.

“Scrum is designed to work empirically. In fact, it is a 100% empirical process. This means that it applies the scientific method, in which uncertainty is always present and it is thanks to the uncertainty that humanity learns,” expressed Gabriel Ledesma, Leadership Coach at Abstracta and co-founder of the agile community in Uruguay.

“What would humanity be after the pandemic without the contribution of science? This is obviously a rhetorical question. Above all, Scrum seeks to generate a culture of life and work with a great capacity for adaptation. In fact, adaptation is what has allowed life on the planet. And in relation to companies, only those with resilient capacity are the ones that will survive. Using Scrum is to be on this path”, concluded Gabriel.

Finally, we will detail how Scrum takes shape and life specifically in testing, with a special focus on how it helps to clarify the different processes in uncertain times in order to continue building software of increasingly better quality, in any context.

If you are not familiar with the terminology of this framework, we recommend you to read The Scrum Guide to understand it more precisely.

So, why is it important to use Scrum in testing? We share some highlights in the voice of Scrum and agility expert Gabriel Ledesma. 

✔️Scrum encourages teamwork without differentiating specialties. In other words, developers should not work on one side and testers on the other side but should do so collaboratively.

✔️In Sprint Planning the entire team, testers included, has the possibility of clearly knowing the business objective, the product goal, and the sprint goal, which has a direct impact on the work of the testers and the increase in value delivered at the end of each sprint.

✔️The Definition of Done is built by the entire team, generating a consensus of the quality criteria regardless of whether you are a tester, dev, or another technical role.

✔️At each Daily Scrum, the entire team takes and analyzes the risks involved in meeting the objective.

✔️At each Daily Scrum, the entire team takes and analyzes the risks involved in meeting the sprint goal. In this way, they avoid leaving the testers’ activity to the end, which should be done in coordination during the whole sprint and not in the final days.

✔️As Scrum is an Agile framework, it encourages the division of tasks to be done based on features and not dividing the tasks by technical knowledge. Thus, it promotes that the solution is coordinated as a whole.

✔️In the Sprint Retrospective, the whole team (tester, devs, etc.) has a concrete instance to analyze how they collaborated, what results they obtained, and what tools they used. This frequent but not permanent act allows for the improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the testers and the rest of the Scrum team.

On this path of discovering the importance of Scrum in any context, we recommend reading the Agile Manifesto.

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