The software development team at Function Point Productivity Software has adopted the Scrum framework for managing product development, resulting in greater responsiveness to client feedback, and a more frequent delivery of new features. Scrum is a flexible and iterative process of product development that encourages teams to work as unit towards achieving a common goal in a short period of time, as opposed to a traditional, sequential process like the waterfall model, in which all of the requirements of a project are mapped out, and then individuals work on items in relative isolation. Delivery of new features also takes a longer time to complete, for example, six months, instead of two to four weeks.
“It’s a big mind shift and you have to train yourself to do small things that are testable, that are shippable, that the client can actually see,” says Alon Sabi, Vice President of Development Services at Function Point. In January 2015, Sabi became a certified Scrum Master, and has since lead the Function Point development team through the Scrum process by adopting new aspects of the method, one at a time. To achieve the regular release of new features of the creative project management software, the team works in two-week “sprints”, in which a story—or new feature—is broken down into a series of tasks that are assigned to various team members.
At the beginning of each sprint, the team has a planning meeting. They go through their list of items that have been requested by clients, and come up with ways to make them happen—knowing that they have to commit to shipping the feature in two weeks. Through experience, the team is now meeting their sprint deadlines; initially, there was a learning curve on estimating how much work they could commit to. The Scrum framework encourages collaboration by all members, so the Function Point team meets for a 10 minute meeting called the “daily scrum”, to review what each person completed the day before, what they’re doing today, and whether they have any blocks. This galvanizes communication, sharing of knowledge, and teamwork, which has allowed them to move faster. During the sprint, every task is reviewed by another developer, to get a fresh look by another pair of eyes, as part of the Scrum method of working together as a unit. Once the feature has passed a product review and quality control it’s released to a group of clients who use the feature and provide feedback.
One of the major changes that was implemented in the workplace is the switch from a digital task list to a physical system. The development team uses a large whiteboard to list all of the stories and tasks in the timeline of a two-week sprint. Each team member has a magnet with their photo attached, and these are placed next to the task they’re working on. Sabi notes, “This physical connection allows people to be more committed to what they say they’re going to do. And you only have one magnet so you can only work on one task at a time.” Moving to a physical system has made improvements to the developers working as a team, because everyone knows what everyone else is working on, and will jump in to help others progress if they see a task is taking longer than a day to complete.
The short period of delivery of new features is only one of the benefits to Function Point and its clients. In the rapidly changing industry of creative agencies, using the process of Scrum provides agility. In the past, a significant software feature might take six months to deliver, and in the time that it took to be completed there was the danger that the market might not need it anymore, because the clients’ needs changed. “It’s about providing ongoing value to the client,” says Sabi. Embracing the Scrum methodology means that Function Point has the flexibility to shift with its clients’ emerging business realities.
About Function Point Productivity Software Inc.
Function Point Productivity Software is the leading all-in-one project management solution specially designed for ad agencies, design studios and internal marketing departments who are looking to streamline their business. Our integrated software combines project management, time tracking, CRM, financial, and business reporting tools in one convenient cloud based system. Easy, effective, and efficient — do more with Function Point.
For more information about the company and the services Function Point offers, please visit http://www.functionpoint.com