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The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

By Jeff Sutherland
  • Read in 13 minutes
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Scrum by Jeff Sutherland

Learn all about Scrum, the project management system that has revolutionized the technology industry. This is a uniquely adaptive, flexible system that allows teams to plan realistically and adjust their goals through constant feedback. By using Scrum, your team can improve their productivity (and the final result) without creating needless stress or working longer hours.

Key idea 1 of 8

If you want to get things done, ditch the traditional waterfall method, and try Scrum.

How many times have you planned to complete a project, only to find yourself painfully behind schedule as the deadline loomed closer?

Unfortunately, this happens often when we use traditional management processes, like the waterfall method epitomized by Gantt charts.

Gantt charts illustrate project timelines using color-coded parallel bars that indicate the timing and length of different parts of the process, which may occur simultaneously (the result can look like a stylized waterfall, hence the name). Although these are popular organizational tools, they often assume an outsized degree of importance, as when a project has fallen behind schedule, and managers pile more resources into it so that they can make their work fit that schedule, and not vice versa. It can lead to disastrous results.

For instance, the FBI planned to implement a modernized software system called Virtual Case File (VCF), in order to better share information and prevent another 9/11.

Using a Gantt Chart, the agency created a deadline for every important milestone. So the “technical design” stage was scheduled to end on a specific date, at which point the “coding and testing” phase of the project would commence.

Unfortunately, the project broke down before a single line of code was written. VCP ultimately wasted years of the agency’s time and $170 million in taxpayer money.

Since these kinds of failures happen periodically with the waterfall method, many organizations have adopted the scrum project management system instead.

Scrum is characterized by team building and constant feedback. This team-oriented approach is reflected by the name, which describes the moment in a rugby game when the team works together to move the ball down the field, all united by the same clear goal.

And this process works: When the FBI applied Scrum to Sentinel, their next attempt at large-scale modernization, the agency successfully implemented the system in less time, with fewer people and at a lower cost.

Curious to know more about the core ideas behind scrum? Well, keep reading to find out!

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