Network Automation and the SCRUM Development Methodology

by graham taylor, in Inside Development, posted 11/9/09

Network Automation Development has introduced a new development methodology, SCRUM, which will enable closer and more frequent  interaction between the development team and our A-Team customer group with respect to fine tuning of requirements and enhancements to our products. The new SCRUM methodology, based on the Agile methodology, will replace the previous Waterfall development paradigm that used to be in place, emphasizing communication and collaboration, frequent delivery of functioning software, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.

With the SCRUM methodology, development projects are divided into succinct work cadences, known as sprints, which are typically two to four weeks in duration. Within each sprint,  tasks are allocated to developers such that at the end of each sprint, a required set of product functionalities are completed and delivered in working order to the product stakeholders. The stakeholders then assess the delivered functionality to ensure it meets their original requirement. Provisions are made  to request additional functional changes, in the next sprint,  based on their review of what was delivered.

Daily SCRUM meetings, of short duration (5-10 minutes), are held to assess progress by each team member on their allocated tasks for the sprint, and commitments are made by each member with respect to progress to be made by the next daily meeting. This enables daily monitoring of any project slippages and subsequent immediate actions required to be taken to address any slippages, in order to get the project back on track.

SCRUM is a rigorous methodology, with distinctly defined roles for all members of the development team, daily assessment of each team members progress, frequent delivery and review of new functionality, and a rigid itinerary of reporting and review meetings resulting in higher productivity, faster turn-around of projects, early detection and resolution of bottlenecks, and higher quality deliveries.