In Scrum, quality is defined as the ability of the completed product or deliverables to meet the Acceptance Criteria and achieve the business value expected by the customer. To ensure that a project meets quality requirements, Scrum adopts an approach of continuous improvement whereby the team learns from experience and stakeholder engagement to constantly keep the Prioritized Product Backlog updated with any changes in requirements. The Prioritized Product Backlog is simply never complete until the closure or termination of the project. Any changes to the requirements reflect changes in the internal and external business environment and allow the team to continually work and adapt to achieve those requirements.
The fact that Scrum, through repetitive testing, requires work to be Done in an incremental fashion through Sprints rather than waiting until the end to produce deliverables results in errors being fixed right away, rather than postponed. Moreover, important quality-related tasks (e.g., development, testing, and documentation) are completed as part of the same Sprint by the same team—this ensures that quality is inherent in any Done deliverable created as part of a Sprint. Thus, continuous improvement with repetitive testing optimizes the probability of achieving the expected quality levels in a Scrum project. Constant discussions between the Scrum Core Team and stakeholders (including customers and users) with actual increments of the product being delivered at the end of every Sprint, ensures that the gap between customer expectations from the project and actual deliverables produced is constantly reduced.
Quality and Scope
Scope and quality requirements for a project are determined by taking into consideration various factors such as the following:
- The business need the project will fulfill
- The capability and willingness of the organization to meet the identified business need
- The current and future needs of the target audience
Scope of the project is the sum total of all the product increments and the work required for developing the final product. Quality is the ability of the deliverables to meet the quality requirements for the product and satisfy customer needs. In Scrum, the scope and quality of the project are captured in the Prioritized Product Backlog and the scope for each Sprint is determined by refining the large Prioritized Product Backlog Items (PBIs) into a set of small but detailed User Stories that can be planned, developed, and verified within a Sprint.
The Prioritized Product Backlog is continuously groomed by the Product Owner. The Product Owner ensures that any User Stories that the Scrum Team is expected to do in a Sprint are refined prior to the start of the Sprint. In general, the most valuable requirements in solving the customers’ problems or meeting their needs are prioritized as high and the remaining are given a lower priority. Less important User Stories are developed in subsequent Sprints or can be left out altogether according to the customer’s requirements. During Sprint execution, the Product Owner, customer, and the Scrum Team can discuss the list of features of the product to comply with the changing needs of the customers.
Quality and Business Value
Quality and business value are closely linked. Therefore, it is critical to understand the quality and scope of a project in order to correctly map the outcomes and benefits the project and its product must achieve in order to deliver business value. To determine the business value of a product, it is important to understand the business need that drives the requirements of the product. Thus, business need determines the product required, and the product, in turn provide the expected business value.
Quality is a complex variable. An increase in scope without increasing time or resources tends to reduce quality. Similarly, a reduction in time or resources without decreasing scope also generally results in a decrease in quality. Scrum believes in maintaining a ʺsustainable paceʺ of work, which helps improve quality over a period of time.
The Scrum Guidance Body may define minimum quality requirements and standards required for all projects in the organization. The standards must be adhered to by all Scrum Teams in the company.
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What is a Hashtag?
Hashtags are popularly used on social media platforms. The idea of using hashtags was first mooted by Chris Messina who wanted to change the way we communicate on social media. So he proposed using a hashtag, to be a form of label for similar content, so that it becomes easier for users on social media to locate similar content.
Today hashtags have become a powerful tool in increasing reach and brand visibility. A hashtag can be generated for a trending topic and all posts related to that topic will be clubbed in the same group if the user uses the trending tag. For example #USelections can be a possible tag that can skyrocket on social media platforms during the election period. Hashtags are used almost on all social media platforms but is most effective on Twitter.
So anyone searching for the topic can search for the label and find various opinions and stories under the same label. It has been observed that many big stories were amplified and reached a larger audience with inputs from several citizen reports under the same label.
Not just trending topics or news but marketers have also used this tool to make their brand a trending story on social media.
How Do we Create a #hashtag
Here are a few technical points on how to create or use a #hashtag
Hashtag can be a word or an abbreviation. It can be a combination of words or a phrase that relates to the story. There can be no spaces between the words or the alphabets. Hashtags also cannot be entirely made of numbers.
The label has to start with the # Symbol
A hashtag has to start with the symbol ???#???. Once you prefix the symbol before the word or the phrase, it automatically categorizes it under the targeted label.
Anyone can create a hashtag
So you can make any number of hashtags and start using them in your stories and messages. The hashtag can be featured anywhere in the story. A single story can have multiple hashtags as well. Marketers can create a campaign using a particular hashtag and if the campaign goes viral, it amplifies the reach of the brand.
Create Unique Hashtags
Marketers can strive to create new and unique hashtags but there is a possibility that such a hashtag is already in use. On social media no one owns any hashtag so you are free to use any hashtag. A lot of people also use general hashtags such as #digitalmarketing or #facebook. Alternatively you can use an existing hashtag if you want to be part of a trending discussion. By using the hashtag you simply become part of the discussion.
Short Hashtags and Easy to remember
Try to make a short and easy to remember hashtag. The first reason being that Twitter limits the overall number of characters, the shorter hashtag the better it is. A hashtag that is easy to remember can be searched easily by a user and stories linked to the label are easier to locate.
How Not to Use Hashtags
Avoid overusing hashtags in a single line. It is bad etiquette and people might report you as spammer. Hashtag pollution also makes it difficult to read and doesn???t serve the purpose to highlight only the topic of discussion.
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Any change that arises in either the programs or portfolios may have a cascading effect on all dependent projects and Sprints. Therefore, it is advisable to minimize changes at these higher levels. If a change is required and all stakeholders are in agreement to make the change at these levels, the following should be kept in mind.
- It is not recommended to make changes in between two Portfolio Backlog Meetings.
- If the change is minor, the Portfolio Product Owner should secure approval from the relevant stakeholders (e.g., sponsor, customer, and end user) and then add the requirements to the Portfolio Backlog. Product Owners of the program and project will consider those requirements for inclusion in future Sprints.
- If the change is major, the portfolio efforts along with associated programs, projects, and Sprints need to stop, and a Portfolio Backlog Meeting should be conducted to determine next steps.
- Portfolio Prioritized Product Backlog Meetings (also referred to as Portfolio Backlog Meetings), should be conducted at 4 – 12-month intervals. The frequency and impact of changes to a portfolio largely determine the time duration between two Portfolio Backlog Meetings. If there are several expected changes in portfolio, it is preferable to conduct Portfolio Backlog Meetings at more regular intervals (e.g., 4 – 6 months); but if there are fewer expected changes and if requirements are stable, the duration between two Portfolio Backlog Meetings could be increased (e.g., 9 to 12 months).
- It is not recommended to make changes in between two Program Backlog Meetings.
- If the change is minor, the Program Product Owner should secure approval from the relevant stakeholders (e.g., sponsor, customer, and end user) and the Portfolio Product Owner and then add the requirements to the Program Backlog. Product Owners for the project will consider those requirements for inclusion in future Sprints.
- If the change is major, the program efforts along with associated projects and Sprints need to stop, and a Prioritized Product Backlog Meeting should be conducted to determine next steps.
- Program Prioritized Product Backlog Meetings (also referred to as Program Backlog Meetings), should preferably be conducted at 2- to 6-month intervals. The frequency and impact of changes to a program largely determine the time duration between two Program Backlog Meetings. If there are several expected changes in program, it is preferable to conduct Program Backlog Meetings at more regular intervals (e.g., 2 to 3 months); but if there are fewer expected changes and if requirements are stable, the duration between two Program Backlog Meetings could be increased (e.g., 5 to 6 months).
The following figure demonstrates how changes can be managed within the Scrum flow for both portfolios and programs.
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