At T2 Tech Group, we know the sky’s the limit when a talented group can efficiently coordinate their efforts toward a common goal. To this end, we use a hybrid-agile methodology that incorporates many leading schools of project management into a directed and team-empowering approach to enterprise IT. Because of Scrum’s flat structure, team focus, transparency, adaptability and ability to quickly provide stakeholders with deliverables, including Scrum techniques in our methodology made sense for today’s rapidly changing IT environment.
As a Clinical Application Analyst, I assist healthcare facilities in their organizational application strategies. To become better at coordinating team efforts during these important application projects, I recently attended a Scrum Master certification course. The course was an awesome opportunity to solidify the principles and values that we utilize at T2 Tech, and it will allow me to share what I learned with our healthcare clients.
Quick Scrum 101
During the class, we were able to take a hands-on learning approach to study and engage in the Scrum process. This approach provided an in-depth look into the roles, events, and methodologies behind the principle of Scrum. Here’s a very brief breakdown for those who are unfamiliar with the methodology:
- Scrum Master: The Scrum Master is like a coach that works alongside the team to guide them and make sure the project is progressing smoothly. Depending on the project, this team member may set up meetings, monitor work being done, help set up the backlog, help members overcome roadblocks and provide knowledge transfer on the methodology.
- Stakeholder (called Product Owner in the software space): Facilitating crucial communication between other organizational stakeholders and the project team, the stakeholder defines user-centric stories, manages stories in the backlog, and prioritizes stories in the backlog based on dependencies and value.
- Team Members: The team members are responsible for delivering a finished, complete and ideally demonstrable work effort at the end of each iteration. This team is self-organizing and cross-functional. Depending on the project, the work the team may have to do could include analysis, testing, development, design, and other roles.
- Sprint: A cyclical and repeatable iteration that typically lasts about two weeks to a month. As one of the basic units for development, sprints allow teams to produce deliverables in relatively quick bursts. They also facilitate reflection between sprints that improves team productivity.
- Sprint Planning: Sprint planning meetings occur at the beginning of an iteration. These meetings are used to decide which backlog items will be completed in the sprint, and the time is used to break up items into tasks to be completed in the sprint.
- Daily Scrum: This is like a rugby scrum player huddle that typically lasts around 15 minutes. As my colleague Kevin Torf stated in his blog Collaborate: Agile is a Team Methodology, “The daily stand-up is short and is meant as a quick touch base to discuss progress made the day prior, goals for today and roadblocks in the way.”
- Sprint Review: To keep stakeholders informed and check the project’s progress, sprint review meetings show what is completed and how the team was able to perform. This often involves preparing velocity charts and tangible deliverables for stakeholders.
- Sprint Retrospective: This is a time at the end of a sprint to reflect and improve. The Scrum Master can facilitate the meetings to best benefit the team. Three common items that get tackled are what is working and should be continued, what the team needs to start implementing into the process and what processes need to be stopped to improve productivity.
- Backlog Refinement: This meeting is conducted near the conclusion of a sprint to help prepare the backlog for the next sprint. Holding this meeting near the end of a sprint helps the team prepare for sprint planning meetings and helps ensure optimal tasks are assigned in the next sprint.
Lessons to take to the client
As a Certified Scrum Master, I’m excited to not only share what I’ve learned with my colleagues but also to continue to apply these methodologies to the progressive work we do at T2 Tech Group. The cornerstone of good project management is that it empowers each team member. By providing a flat structure conducive to efficient collaboration, Scrum along with other agile methodologies are just what healthcare IT needs to boost optimal end results for providers.