Project Management with Agile Methodology in Telecom Industry
We are amidst the fourth industrial revolution. The way industries are shaping their structure, is changing. What the telecom industry once used to be, has been dynamically transitioning. We are in an era where agility is key to achieving a competitive edge in this fast-paced environment.
As Dean Leffingwell, Co-founder and Chief Methodologist at Scaled Agile, says, “Never did we imagine that Business Agility would be an absolute survival criterion” So, what is agility?
Agility, according to the Cambridge dictionary, is defined as ‘the ability to move a body quickly and easily’. This is exactly what business organizations need to be looking for to cope up with the ever-changing trends of the industry. So, let’s explore how exactly is agility applied within an organization.
What is the Agile Methodology?
The Agile methodology is a system of procedures used in project management to make it more adaptive and flexible. Through it, we ensure continuous collaboration between team members and project stakeholders. The team collaborates and incessantly works towards achieving a goal, by breaking tasks and processes down to efficiently manage them.
As the system initiates, the team cycles through a process of planning, executing and evaluating. This creates a highly integrated workforce that can quickly adapt to overcome presenting problems rather than planning for future problems.
To function effectively, agile teams work under certain frameworks, which include Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), Adaptive Project Framework (APF), etc. Surveys show that scrum is the most popular agile method used. Hence, we will mainly focus on that.
What do you need to know about the Scrum framework?
Scrum is an agile project management methodology used specifically to manage tasks within a team-based development environment. It is an adaptable, fast, and effective framework that is designed to deliver value to the customer along the developmental process of the product.
The primary objective is to satisfy the customer’s need by providing an environment of transparency in communication, creating collective responsibility and maintaining continuous progress. The development initiates on the brainstorming table, leading to the identification of a list of characteristics ordered by priority (product backlog), in line with the product owner’s requirements.
The scrum framework basics involve Sprints, development of product backlog, sprint backlog, daily team meetings. At the end of the sprint, the team delivers product functionality. This cycle continues in rapid succession to ensure the completion of tasks efficiently.
How the Scrum Framework Ensures Successful Delivery of Telecom Project Requirements
Scrum has many advantages over other agile development methodologies. There is a reason it is the most used and trusted framework of reference in the telecom industry. Above all benefits, scrum allows teams to produce high-quality work at very high efficiency.
And since the project functions on the product owner’s financial resources and the team members’ time and efforts, the efficiency scrum brings in the processes is a win-win for both.
Benefits of using the Scrum framework:
Trackable Progress: Scrum processes are cyclic and handled within a time frame, which makes it easier to track the progress of tasks. This not only helps keep it simple to organize product development but also promises timely deliverables from the team. Furthermore, tracking each step of the way allows a chance to collect data regarding the functionality of each process. Analyzing it could help teams assess areas of improvement and reparations for continuous growth.
Expectation Achievement: Scrum framework allows for the collaboration of the team with the product owner. The owner first establishes their expectations from the product development and indicates the value each of his requirements holds. This information is processed by the team, and along with the product owner, they establish a priority-based task list. This list is followed particularly by the team. Daily, during sprint meetings, the team receives feedback from the owner regarding his expectations and the teams’ achievements.
Extremely Flexible: The product and sprint backlog created in the scrum framework fundamentally function on the requirements outlined by the customer or product owner. As the human mind is dynamic and susceptible to change, so are the requirements identified by the customers. Hence, the scrum methodology is designed to adapt to these changing requirements by breaking tasks into smaller processes and categorizing them in sprints. The changes can be implemented in the next iterating sprint, rather than starting everything from the beginning.
Pre-developmental Capability: The client can start using the most important functionalities of the project before the product is even completed.
Higher software quality: The working method and the need to obtain a functional version after each cycle, helps to obtain a higher quality software.
Timely Prediction: As the whole process is trackable and allows scaling out the time put in by the team, it becomes simple to predict future milestone achievements within the product development, i.e, teams can predict when they would reach a certain milestone.
Risk Reduction: Since the backlog of tasks to complete is priority-based, the major functionality is achieved at the start of product development. This leaves time for the team to assess risk and easily manage it.
Disadvantages of using Scrum Methodology
Of course, not everything is perfect. Scrum methods also have their downsides. Scrum teams work in sprints that are cyclic in nature. Also, scrum teams focus on continuous growth and improvement with every successive sprint.
Hence, this makes it difficult to identify a final sprint that concludes the task definitively. Furthermore, projects may stretch out for extended periods as there isn’t any fixed timeline.
Sometimes, if team members adopting scrum agile methodology are not experienced in them, it may cause hindrance in reaching project goals. Since agile methods are very different from traditional methods, not many people are naturally good at them.
Another reason that may hinder the maximum potential of scrum methodology is if team members are not committed and motivated. As the division of labor in scrum teams involves more independence to each member of the team, if someone doesn’t pursue their responsibility passionately, they may lack behind and break the sprint’s pace.
Scrum methodology is preferred only when the team to be managed is small. A team of 6-7 members is optimum for its functionality. Whereas, if the team size increases, effective communication between members becomes difficult. And constant communication is one of the main elements of a well-functioning Scrum team.
Finally, since it is team-based, if somebody leaves the scrum team, it can drastically hinder its processes and reduce its functionality.
The world is changing drastically, currently undergoing the fourth industrial revolution. Because of this, the telecom industry has become a vital component of our lives. To keep the industry flourishing, businesses have started implementing agile project management systems to make themselves more adaptable and flexible.
Within this methodology, the most popular of the frameworks being used is scrum. It has several key advantages over any other project management method and can become a powerful driving force in the growth of a business through higher efficiency in project management.
Despite having certain downfalls, scrum can still be considered as a very good system of team management as long as the team is small, highly productive, committed, and experienced in agile methods.