What do project management and rugby have in common? Not too much at first sight. In rugby, if there are minor rule violations, an out or unauthorized forward play of a ball, the game is restarted by default with a kind of "ordered scrum". Here the players face each other in a predetermined system and then start the game. Figuratively speaking, agile project management works similarly - especially in product and software development.
The basic idea: Many projects are simply too complex and unpredictable to be able to assess them with certainty from the outset. Scrum therefore tries to simplify complex projects and to always look at individual sub-steps in a new way and adapt them to new conditions.
The requirements for a product, for example, are not finally defined at the beginning of the project, but are continually re-evaluated and adjusted as necessary - as after a breach of the rules in rugby, where all the players start again together from the "crowd" and start the game all over again.
Special emphasis is placed on involving the customer or user from the very beginning. Extensive documentation is largely dispensed with, the focus being on the development of the product and its design. Fixed time intervals are defined and then strictly adhered to. Due to the rhythm achieved in this way, the Scrum team and the client can adjust exactly to when the next development step is worked out and the respective partial result is presented. The intervals are deliberately kept very short and are in the range of 2-3 weeks. Then a presentation of the results completed by then takes place in the presence of the client. This meets the demand for agility, because deviations or errors can be recognized immediately and corrected in the following period.
Another fixed rhythm concerns the work of the actual development or Scrum team. During the daily Scrum Standup (duration exactly 15 minutes) the progress and obstacles in the development or programming of the previous day are visibly recorded. Obstacles are then promptly removed, and the team discusses what can be tackled next. This enables a high degree of transparency.
About Dr. Roland Ottmann
Roland Ottmann is the founder of Ottmann & Partner GmbH Management Consulting (www.ottmann.de) and is considered a proven expert in project management. He studied mechanical engineering and business administration (MBA) and received his doctorate in business administration from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce - Lille et Paris. Since 1985 he has gained practical experience in project management as a project and programme manager, consultant, trainer (e.g. for the 4 Level Qualification Concept of the IPMA International Project Management Association) and coach for project and programme managers. In 1996 he initiated the German Project Management Award and in 1998 the International Project Management Award.