By Jennifer McCool, Operations Consultant
I am not a tech person. I feel that I owe this disclaimer up front. As a matter of fact, I once broke the little feet off a keyboard after getting frustrated; I just used post-it note pads to prop it up for a while. I am; however, a professional organizer that specializes in businesses. As such, I love efficiency.
When I was asked to shadow a client while she gave a presentation to a project management group, the Northwest Arkansas Project Management Institute, I said yes but secretly I wondered how I would take notes on a subject that I am not familiar with? (I didn’t do very well-my notes were pretty sparse.) Even so, by the end of the evening I had come to the conclusion that project management is tech organizing and actually pretty interesting. Here’s what happened:
I arrived early, got out my laptop and tried to look like I knew what was going on. Psssh, I got this. People started arriving, and good crowd started to accumulate. Not surprisingly, most of the attendees came from our favorite local retailer. My client, Sarah Daigle, the Founder and CTO of Currant Technology Group, got up to speak and I was prepared to be confused.
She started with her background and what her company does for their clients. She spoke about SMART audits and referring out versus subcontracting, and explaining how to decided when something is a good fit and when something is not a good fit. Then she said she had a video to show, an Introduction to Scrum. This sounded promising since usually when something is an introduction it’s written for the inexperienced. Seven minutes later, the video was over and I was in love.
Scrum is a project development methodology meant to be faster and more flexible that the traditional process by working in short, overlapping stages. The scrum process is meant to be more responsive to changes during the process, which is divided in to sprints.
By working in short bursts, on specific deliverables, that go to completion in that manageable timeframe, scrum is not unlike organizing. Take a large project, set smaller, specific goals, work one goal to completion, then go to the next specific goal. You have something to show for your work immediately, can adapt to a client changing their mind mid-project, and can easily correct errors without unraveling the whole project or having to start over. YES! Efficiency is sexy, people!
The meeting was supposed to be over at 7:30 but most of the attendees stayed late to participate in an exercise, using scrum to plan a backyard BBQ. I sat back and listened intently to the details and stories, amused by the interactions. Yes, scrum is for software development … and planning a great party.
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