Sometimes less is more— or so the old adage claims. A lot of remote team managers searching for effective strategies would agree. Simplifying and clearly defining tasks is a major part of getting team productivity right. Since the Scrum framework emerged, the concept has been used proficiently in tech companies as a remote team management tool. So, how did it all begin and how can these concepts help your team improve team efficiency and productivity?
Let’s sprint into some methodology history.
Ready to hire top tech talent?
Remote Team Management Tools: The Scrum Method
The concept begins with a little sport called Rugby. And while it seems the sport is on the sidelines, it’s apparently the fastest growing sport in the United States! Well, that’s where the concept emerged. During a game of rugby, the team meets on the field to strategize how to move the ball forward.
The concept transfers off the field. Scrum is not an acronym, it is a concept that involves a team working together to move the product forward.
The concept had humble beginnings and was developed as teams grew larger and more complex. Today, as companies manage various multifaceted projects with multiple team members, the process has become indispensable. It was created by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber in the 90s with the intent to help organizations improve their efficiency and work processes when dealing with complex development projects.
The Scrum framework has several core values:
These three elements come together to create the framework for what is a learn-as-you-go system. The way the system works allows for breaking up large projects into manageable tasks that encourage experimentation and self-correction along the way.
In addition to the three main pillars mentioned above, scrum also upholds the following values;
The Agile Methodology
Scrum is considered an agile methodology. This product management method hinges on team collaboration and communication, consistent and adaptive planning, and structuring tasks in a way that allows for continuous improvement or realignment.
The methodology is meant to structure work in a way that is manageable, transparent, and provides teams the flexibility to adapt or pivot when things are not heading in the right direction. By building flexibility into the structure itself, it makes teams more fluid and adaptable to changing circumstances, conditions, or problems.
The Heart of the Scrum: The Sprint
Today, most software development teams or tech companies are familiar with the Scrum framework and with Sprints. If we return to the game of rugby, for a second, we picture the sprints being the increments of ground the team advances as they move towards the goal. Breaking up bigger goals into sprints uses a similar idea.
‘Sprint planning’ is an event that kicks off the sprint for a defined period of time. Some teams structure sprints into two week or one week increments. The planning process involves a collaborative discussion on what the goals are for that particular time frame, and what can be accomplished. The sprint planning process is about taking a realistic view into what can be accomplished within a given amount of time and racing towards that goal with efficiency.
Teams or management will first define the length of the sprints. This sets the structure for the planning.
What is a Scrum Master?
As teams implement and learn the scrum method, they often employ the scrum master. The scrum master is a type of coach proficient and fluent in the scrum method and someone who understands the underlying principles. When leading a team, the Scrum Master guides the team through the planning and implementation process. Like in any game, the coach will facilitate the communication, identify and manage any obstacles or impediments in progress, or lead the team into better self-organization and management.
The scrum master helps the team and guides individual members towards success and completion.
How is this Useful for Remote Teams?
When the Scrum system began, remote teams were not as common as they are today. Yet, as more and more companies go completely remote or have several remote team members, the scrum method has proved to be efficient for teams working remotely.
Remote teams work towards a similar goal from various locations and having a common language and framework provides these teams with a structured way to build momentum and incrementally move towards the bigger objective. Using the Sprints method, remote teams can implement other remote team strategies such as measuring KPIs and strategizing one on one meetings to measure and supplement meetings.
Who Uses the Scrum Method?
Since the 90s, the Scrum method has gained traction and become the standard for companies in several industries including tech. Because the tech industry often engages in complex product development with several people working all at once, the method has proven effective to getting a product to market in an efficient manner.
Big companies that have employed this method include:
And many more!
What is the Simplicity Sprint?
In 2022, rumors regarding impending Google layoffs began to make the rounds. In an all-hands meeting, the company expressed an urgent tone, admitting that their productivity was not where it needed to be. The company’s CEO spoke to the team about forming a culture that was more mission and customer-focused. So, Google explored the idea of something called the Simplicity Sprint. This concept is about looking for ways to simplify tasks, documents, and processes.
The central idea is simple: Identify tasks or projects that are needlessly complicated or redundant and eliminate, outsource, or simplify these tasks to move through the sprint faster.
The Scrum Framework in Mexico and Latin America
So while this framework seems ubiquitous in the tech industry throughout the States, how much has it caught on abroad? In Mexico, for example, there are organizations that specialize in training the Scrum framework and providing certification for scrum masters.
The Agile Methodology has caught on throughout Mexico as a go-to method for teams. Because many tech professionals go on to work for U.S. companies, they learn the scrum methodology early, often as part of their University work.
Building a Remote Tech Team with the Right Strategies and the Right Talent
As a remote company, CodersLink uses Sprints for our planning. We know the challenges of building remote teams. It’s why we help U.S. companies build dedicated remote teams by hiring remote developers in Mexico and Latin America.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Learn more by talking to one of our team members.