Agile project management with ZEP and Scrum
25 August 2021

Agile project work with Scrum and ZEP

Agile working or agility in project management is at the top of the agenda for many companies in project-oriented industries. Methods and rules such as Kanban or Scrum provide the theoretical tools, while modern software solutions such as ZEP help with the practical implementation and documentation.

Agile project work: traffic light intersection vs. roundabout

Agility or agile working is one of the current focus topics in many project-oriented sectors such as software development, engineering and construction or management consultancy. The goal is to become more agile and thus more responsive and flexible in projects.

The basis is the already 2001 published agile manifestowhich was originally established for software development projects and - in distinction to traditional project work - defines the following four cornerstones:

      1. Individuals and interactions are more important than processes and tools
      2. Functioning software is more important than comprehensive documentation
      3. Cooperation with the client is more important than contract negotiation
      4. Responding to change is more important than following a plan

If one transfers these guiding principles to concrete work in the project, agile working is usually equated with criteria such as working on one's own responsibility, reducing hierarchies, smaller teams, greater mobility and agility, as well as a quick ability to react to changes. An analogy that illustrates the difference between agile working and traditional project work is the comparison of a traffic light intersection with a roundabout.

At a traffic light intersection, there are rules that have been set up externally - by the traffic control centre - and that must be observed by every road user. Independent decision-making is not possible. Regardless of whether you are standing alone in front of the traffic lights in the middle of the night or with many others during rush hour, the same rules always apply. Misconduct is sanctioned.

In contrast, there are significantly fewer rules at a roundabout, but all road users are aware of them. They can then decide for themselves whether and when to enter the roundabout. As a rule, roundabouts work much safer, easier and faster.

Scrum: Frame Work for agile working

On the basis of the rather general guiding principles for agile working, some concrete working methods and methodologies have been developed. Among the best known are, for example, Kanban, Extreme Programming or Scrum.

Scrum is a set of rules for project and product management. It was originally designed for software development - analogous to the agile manifesto - but is now also used in many other areas. The aim is to provide guidance for agile working by adopting the thought patterns and mindset behind agile working into concrete, implementable specifications and rules. The starting point for working with Scrum are the roles that the individual project participants take on in the project. Scrum distinguishes between product owners, developers and Scrum masters with different responsibilities as well as external stakeholders such as customers, users or management. The big difference to classic project work is that the project responsibility is divided among the individual roles and there is no longer a single overall project manager.

In Scrum, the project itself is divided into different "sprints", i.e. work phases that begin with sprint planning and end with a sprint review or a sprint retrospective. Another important Scrum component is the event, a clearly defined meeting between the project participants. Scrum projects are documented and archived in the product backlog, the respective sprints in the sprint backlog.

Agile working with Scrum and ZEP

ZEP is very well suited for agile project management and the use of Scrum. The following is used for this ZEP Ticket System. The sprints defined in Scrum can be mapped by corresponding tickets or subtasks in the ZEP add-on module. If stakeholders such as customers are to have access to the individual tickets, this is also possible. Analogous to the Scrum Backlogs, the ZEP Ticket System offers the possibility to call up a project plan with an overview of all tickets and subtasks at the push of a button. For documentation and evaluation, ticket overviews - in the Scrum world, one would speak of sprint backlogs - can be created for the respective project or across projects.

For further questions regarding the use of the ZEP Ticket System in Scrum projects, please contact the ZEP Team at any time.