Scrum and retrospectives for e-commerce teams

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Scrum is a term derived from the sport of rugby. In a scrum, a team tries to achieve a goal together and win the match. Collaboration is crucial and the ability to respond quickly is crucial. In business a Scrum doesn’t take place on a rugby field. Instead, we use a meeting rooms for a whiteboard Scrum and an online tool for a digital Scrum. You could say that it is about managing large amounts of to do’s that you try to process in a smart way with your team. Scrum used to be almost exclusive to software development. These days the framework is used in lots of industries, including e-commerce. In this article we discuss some tips and ideas of using scrum in e-commerce.

How to get started:

  1. Choose a person in charge.

This is the person with that has a clear vision of the end goal. He or she identifies risks, what is workable and what is not.

  1. Assemble your team.

Who will do the actual work? Teams should be small (3 to 9 people).

  1. Choose a Scrum master

This person will guide the team and helps to eliminate any obstacles that slow down the work of the members.

  1. Create a Product Backlog.

This is a to do list of all the tasks and assigned priorities. The Product Backlog isn’t too detailed and may evolve during the project. It’s everything that still needs to be done by the team now and later’, in order of priority. There is only one product backlog.

  1. Refine and plan the items on the product backlog.

Estimate how much work will be involved with each item. The team should scrutinize each item and see if it is really doable. Each item should be showable and demonstrable.

  1. Sprint Planning

A sprint is a bundling of tasks over a fixed period of time. Sprints always have a fixed duration ranging from 1 to 4 weeks. The team looks at the top items on the backlog and estimates how many items can be completed during a sprint. The number of issues that can be completed in a sprint is called the team velocity. One should always strive to increase that number with each sprint. Important is that once you have defined the items of the sprint, you cannot change them anymore. So, nothing more can be added even in this sprint. New items are for the next sprint.

  1. Make the work visible

You can do this by using a scrum board with 3 columns: ‘to do’, ‘in progress’ and ‘done’. (In development you can add another column: ‘in test’).

  1. Daily Stand-Up or Daily Scrum

Every day you organize a short meeting that lasts max. 15 minutes to answer the following questions:

  • What did you do yesterday to help the team complete this sprint?
  • What will you do today to help the team complete this Sprint?
  • Are there one or more obstacles preventing you or team from achieving the Sprint goal?
  1. Sprint Evaluation or Sprint Demo.

At the end of each sprint, you hold a meeting where you discuss with your team what was accomplished. Each team member presents their piece of what was created or accomplished.

  1. Retrospectives

The team shows what they’ve achieved during the past sprint (what is ready). Together they discuss what went well, what could have been better and what can be improved in the next sprint. This step can be an offline or online retrospective.

Conclusion

In this article we discussed the basics of Scrum. We know that you can apply it in different ways to your project or to your business. For the organization of your own e-commerce project it has huge advantages, both in time and efficiency!