How the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) uses Scrum methodology for technical development
Scrum is a process framework that is used to manage complex product development, it allows teams to develop products or projects in an iterative, incremental manner. Work is structured in intervals known as Sprints, which are typically two weeks in length. At the start of the Sprint the development team agrees on a collective target that the team believes it can deliver by the end of the Sprint. At the end of the Sprint the completed work is reviewed with stakeholders – demonstrating what has been built. The feedback from this review can be incorporated in the next Sprint.
The Information Infrastructure team of the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) utilises the Scrum framework for infrastructure development, following the cycle of -
- The Information Infrastructure Team Leader manages a big wish-list of prioritised items (this is called a backlog), prioritised by the management group in line with the AODN Implementation Plan.
- At the start of the fortnightly Sprint, the Information Infrastructure team selects as many items from the top of the list as the team believes can be completed, and decides how the work will be implemented by defining tasks.
- The focus is for a working product at the end of the Sprint that is demonstrated to the stakeholders (the AODN Team and IMOS Office).
- The completed work is released into the applicable Production environment and available to users.
- The next Sprint begins….
What this means for AODN development –
- Improved progress and visibility.
- The work being completed by the team at any stage is transparent, progress is tracked throughout the fortnight on a board (see image).
- Development occurs on a priority basis.
- The direction can be changed very quickly – as every fortnight there are opportunities of inspection and adaption, continual exposure and feedback increasing the overall quality.
- Decrease in the time for users to see changes, every Sprint the team deliver a working product or service increments.
- Reduces the risk of time lost time on development – feedback flows directly into the product development early in a the process.
- Internally – increases morale in the team as they are self-managing, allows the team to utilise individual strengths and the cross-functional nature reduces operational risk.