Mike Farnham, MyUW-Madison Academic Application Development (MUMAA) service leader and software developer, co-presented a full day Scrum workshop with fellow UW-Madison colleagues at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Pa. on October 31, 2017.
Scrum is an agile methodology for completing complex projects through an iterative process. The image at the end of the article showcases the five steps included in each iteration.
Originally used primarily for software development projects, Scrum is now used for a wide variety of projects. The MUMAA team uses Scrum every day and has previously presented on the topic with Tamra Dagnon and Patrick Hare from DoIT Application Development & Integration (ADI). For the EDUCAUSE workshop, Lauranne Bailey from the College of Engineering Professional Development joined the team.
“We have found using an agile methodology like Scrum allows us to not only deliver the features our partners need to do their job but to deliver these features in a more timely manner than using the formerly traditional waterfall methodology,” explains Mike. “So the better question is ‘Why not?’ share with others the great results we have had using the agile methodology.”
The team didn’t just present on Scrum, they also used the methodology to develop the workshop. Each iteration included more details and set the bar higher for needed features in the workshop. A key element to any agile methodology is feedback. With that in mind, the team presented a modified half-day workshop at UW System’s Information Technology Management Council Fall 2017 Joint Meeting. Many of the attendees had agile experience and provided insight on how to improve the workshop.
Twenty-three people from across the country attended the EDUCAUSE workshop, bringing with them a wide range of experience and questions. Having such an engaged audience was a good indicator that the material and format was effective in prompting them to learn and start applying the information to real projects. In addition to the presentation, the team also discussed projects with attendees at lunch and conducted an activity where attendees applied the Scrum methodology to building a destination disc golf course with camping, cabins and condos.
“At DoIT Academic Technology and UW-Madison in general, there’s a strong emphasis on learning and sharing knowledge,” notes Mike. “That’s important to me as well because if I hadn’t learned about Scrum from my colleagues, projects like the award-winning Advising Gateway may not have gone as well as it had. I was happy to have the opportunity to share it out further at the conference and incorporate my experience with the Advising Gateway.”