Originally published on eLearning Industry.
Scrum is becoming more and more popular in the business world. 80% of respondents to a survey say their companies use Scrum at least half the time – and they feel it works. It’s designed for software development, but other industries have found that its focus on flexibility and cross-functionality can benefit them, too.
The demands of course development could make Scrum a great fit for some Learning and Development teams. As courses are developed, scope and needs evolve and change as well, since new things are discovered, not dissimilar to software development.
What Is Scrum, Exactly?
Scrum is a methodology developed by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. It functions in cyclical processes called “sprints”, which can range in length from 1 to 4 weeks. Each sprint focuses on creating one piece of a product, called a product iteration. The product pieces are organized by priority in a backlog, which determines the order in which the sprints are organized.
Besides the team members, a product owner works with the team in frequent but short meetings—usually a brief gathering in the morning called a “scrum” or “daily sprint” to make sure the team is on track and that the scope will be achieved within the time framework.
A “Scrum Master” also works with the team to communicate with the rest of the company, ensure that they understand the methodology, and help eliminate impediments.
At the beginning of the sprint, the team hosts a sprint planning. At the end, the team will hold a retrospective meeting to evaluate how the sprint went and what could be improved for the next sprint.
Scrum is designed to be highly adaptable. Anyone using this methodology can cherry-pick the pieces that work for their team’s needs. Many companies have merged Scrum with other Agile methodologies like Kanban or Lean Development to devise an ideal workflow for their company. Scrum works for you—you don’t have to be a slave to Scrum.
Why Try Scrum For Learning Development?
Scrum is a great methodology for learning development because it’s designed to tie the work process back to business opportunities and challenges.
Developing a course can be a chaotic process. The potential for learning is endless, and people can be easily overwhelmed by what they want to include and how much training they want to create. eLearning courses often have many different pieces and a number of stakeholders, whose requests and needs can easily throw progress off track.
Projects can become giants that are no longer able to justify their cost and time spent. Many L&D professionals have struggled to get executive buy-in for a great resource for employees, but they didn’t have enough ROI evidence. Scrum can help prevent this by keeping projects slim and focused on what’s important.
Sprints ensure that the team can respond to evolving needs effectively. It helps them stay on top of goals and keeps the scope clearly defined. It also helps the team to maintain priorities. Benefits of this include:
- Flexibility – short sprints can effectively respond and shift to evolving needs while keeping priorities straight. This means scrum can become a highly flexible development tool.
- Cost control – because teams are constantly evaluating scope, priorities, and time, they can make sure not to be distracted from the core needs of the project and keep development costs focused on what’s most important.
- Quality – one of the biggest scrum values is maintaining high quality. The reevaluation of priorities means resources are allocated to the most important parts of the project.
Scrum Can Be A Great Solution For Learning And Development
Learning and Development is a field in which flexibility, cost control, and quality are key to the success of a project. Maintaining those factors can keep stakeholders on board with your vision so that you can continue to provide employees with the resources they need to grow and flourish. Scrum, when thoughtfully and properly applied, can be an effective boost to these factors in your development process. Is your current workflow coming up short? What qualities of scrum can help your company?