Australian developer tackles Scrum software techniques

Leading the agile manifesto

Australian software developer, Martin Kearns, is the country's very first certified Scrum practitioner.

Scrum is an agile methodology in how to manage complex projects and the principles of Scrum promotes self directed teams, daily team assessments and avoids prescriptive processes by placing interactive points across complex projects as opposed to process control.

Kearns is employed at Australian IT firm, Renewtek, first joining the company in 2005 where he has responsibility for designing training courses around Scrum and promoting all Agile principles within the company and its client base.

He believes that Scrum agile development gives project ownership back to staff members and allows people who are more knowledgeable about the projects to direct and manage them going forward.

"Agile Methodologies empowers teams to manage complex projects, choose the amount of work to be done and decide how to best do it, thereby positively influencing the work experience by providing a more enjoyable and productive working environment," Kearns said.

"Scrum incorporates other agile principles where needed to create a process that compliments the characteristic of the team culture.

"This allows team members to be empowered and confident enough to advise clients when projects are either going to be delayed or overspending is likely."

Kearns said client Cexpectations and mind sets can then be managed and teams become more accountable.

"Renewtek has open communication with clients and provides them with accurate information early so that management has enough information to make their decisions on," he added.

Renewtek's CEO, Fergus Porter, said Agile development has been summarised by numerous people in what is now called the agile manifesto.

"We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it," he said.

Through this work, Porter said developers have come to value individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiations and have the ability to respond to change after following a plan.

Scrum enables developers to prioritise work based on actual business value, improve the usefulness of what is delivered, and increasie revenue which then leads to regular returns on investment and improved communication channels to management and product owners.

Only last month, Microsoft announced it has built a tool to track the daily progress of Scrum-based software development projects.

The eScrum 1.0 project management tool provides "a one-stop place for all Scrum artifacts, such as product backlogs, sprint backlogs, task management, retrospectives, and reports," according to "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of the company's developer division.

Intended for users of the company's Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server (TFS) application lifecycle management server, eScrum integrates with TFS Team Explorer, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Project. A Web-based UI is featured.

"Many development teams inside Microsoft are now using the agile methodology for software development and had been looking for a way to track their daily progress. Some of the product units in Developer Division are also using this methodology," Somasegar said.

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