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[Interview] A Glance at Agile Scrum Methodology

Scrum is a framework which relies on iterative delivery with continuous improvements to deliver the most valuable product to customers. It is one of the 12 different Agile methods that exists and is the most popular due to being the simplest and having proven its value over the years!

Scrum is different to waterfall project management as it focuses more on delivering value to the customers than to the business. Scrum relies on delivering customer value quickly and often in a time-boxed approach: you deliver something in a specific time frame called a sprint. In Scrum, you test as you’re doing things rather than at the end. You are continuously testing and delivering. At every sprint, you test what you’ve done with the intended end-user. You collect their feedback and you choose whether to incorporate it into the development process. By doing so, you will probably end up at a slightly different destination to where you expected when you set off, but the final solution will be a much better fit for the user.

One example

Imagine you have a customer who wants to get from point A to point B. That is their requirement, their problem to be addressed.

In traditional waterfall project management, you would say: oh, let's look at this requirement and think about the best solution we can build to meet it. Let’s use the example of building a car. You would plan the sequential steps to build the car: wheels, frame, engine, etc. Whilst you are building it, you are not allowing the client to go from point A to point B. When you finally deliver a whole car, much time has passed, and the customer may have evolved and now want something else…

Alternatively, in Scrum, the customer is happy throughout the process because they’re getting a solution at every step of the way to address their problem! Of course, a skateboard is not as fast as a car, bike, motorcycle or scooter, but isn't it better to have something to go from point A to point B than nothing at all?

That's exactly what Scrum is all about. It's much better to have a working solution that the customer can use. It enables them to test and give feedback along the project. While you're still building the scooter, bike, motorcycle and car, your customer can still use the skateboard. You're solving the problem for your end users, but also letting them start working directly and continuously with you in a collaborative way towards the final solution.

Did you know that we apply Scrum in Lyreco?

We asked Manuella Dolet-Nganou Koutouzi, Scrum Master in the department of Planning & Performance, 3 questions (listed below). Manuella works in the SITI team. SITI (Sign it Track it) is an application which allows Lyreco’s drivers to manage their deliveries with the aim of delivering in the best conditions, and allows the customer to follow their order from the ordering until the final delivery.

What is a Scrum master?

The Scrum framework is based on a Scrum team. The Scrum team is composed of cross functional roles: the product owner & the Scrum master but also a delivery team that have all the main skills required to deliver the product. There are also developers, testers, lead dev, business analyst, etc. While the product owner represents the interest of the customer or end-user, the Scrum master acts as a real facilitator & coaches the team so that they can deliver “shippable” increments at every sprint.

My role as Scrum master is to make sure that the Scrum methodology is correctly applied, ease the interaction inside and outside the team, make sure that the team focuses on execution and delivers in good condition, and last but not least, to maximize the business value of the product delivered by the Scrum team.

Could you describe a day in the life of a Scrum master?

Scrum is more than a working framework, it’s a philosophy of life! I wake up each day with the wish to empower team members, improve their daily life, and remove all impediments or issues so that they can focus on execution. There are many rituals in the Scrum framework (daily meetings, sprint reviews, sprint retrospective, etc.). In each ritual, I listen to everyone and intervene to manage and solve problems. I also make sure that the objectives are reached and that the team are following their progress. I follow up sprint statistics to see how we progress (velocity, value delivered, etc.) and gather Scrum team members’ feedback to extract measurable actions to implement into the next sprint.

Could you give examples of Lyreco products managed using Scrum?

Currently, Scrum is applied on different products within Lyreco: The Supply Chain, Lyreco Services, Customer Care/Customer Marketing, Customer Master Data, etc. Today, there are 3 Scrum masters in Lyreco Management/Planning & Performance department. In addition to Manuella Dolet-Nganou Koutouzi, there is Aurore Hanquet & Vincent Leroy.

If Scrum has piqued your interest, check out this course on LinkedIn Learning that will provide you with a deeper understanding of what Scrum is and how you can start implementing it at work. And don’t think that Scrum is only for IT products: We, at Lyreco Innovation, use Scrum as a team!


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