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I'm working in a start-up. I have a background with teamwork and management, but I'm currently the only developer. We have a project that will involve a few developers in the form of 2 freelancers. I will function as a developer as well as the ScrumMaster. The project is scheduled to last three to four months. The 3 developers (myself and the two freelancers) have never worked together before.

Would it be possible or advisable to use Scrum to manage this type of project? Would there be any problems organizing or running the team using Scrum?

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are you going to have a Project Manager or (trained, experienced) Scrummaster to go along with the few developers? –  StevenV Sep 6 '11 at 17:43
    
I will be the scrummaster (and be a dev of the team as well) –  tahir Sep 6 '11 at 20:55

4 Answers 4

Since you will be the scrummaster then I believe the answer to "is it possible to organize..." is really one best answered by you; you know your personality, management and organizational skills better than we do. Any methodology is do-able given sufficient understanding and commitment from all parties (that's often the hard part - does everyone in this startup understand what "Agile" and Scrum mean; short iterations with partial functionality added at each and lots of customer feedback?).

Also to be considered is this - is everyone involved already experienced with Scrum? If not, and especially if there is an appreciable amount of skepticism or animosity toward Agile/Scrum, perhaps a 3-month project is too short a window to be a)gelling as a team, b)getting the "real work" done, and c)learning a new methodology.

No matter what methodology you choose, Team relationships are an excellent place to start, btw.

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Theroatically you can do it. But it is highly dependent on you your organizational skills and the way you lead the team. It also depends how other members understand the process. May you start following hard specification of Scrum methodology and as you go along you will get more experience of applying it :).

Good Luck!

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In my experience the overhead costs of Scrum are too high when your team is three people or less. With a team of that size you are better off using an adhoc/informal team process.

By costs I mean Planning, Review, Retrospective and Grooming meetings are better being replaced by informal sessions that occur spontaneously. There is still value is planning, demonstrating what you have completed, obtaining feedback and regularly applying continuous improvement however you are better off doing this informally.

Good luck with your project, just remember that communication between the three of you, and your business customer is the key.

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I have two concerns with using Scrum on this project.

First, the team size is too small. Scrum recommends having a team of 5-9 people. With only 3 people, you are significantly below that recommended size. Also, a key role in Scrum is the Product Owner, and you don't mention someone acting in this role.

Second, you have what appears to be a deadline, where the project will conclude in 3-4 months. Scrum (and other iterative and incremental methodologies) works best when you have a flexible window with with to work. The idea is that you very quickly get to a point where you can determine what features you can implement in a 2-4 week increment and the Product Owner is capable of prioritizing features and stopping development as soon as the cost of implementing another set of features outweighs the value added by those features.

I think that you can take lessons from Scrum and other agile methodologies, but I'm not sure of vanilla, out-of-the-box Scrum is appropriate in this environment. 15 minute daily standups, using a product backlog, continuous integration, TDD, and other agile practices would be worth looking into, but I would tailor the process to work for this project.

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