OCTOBER 28, 2023
12 min read
Have you ever had an idea of creating a fintech product but stopped at the planning stage? You might have asked yourself:
- “Where do I begin?”
- “How do I manage my time?”
- “Who must I bring on board to make this happen?”
- “Do I need a team, or can I do it alone?”
- “What if things don’t go as planned?”
- “What if my idea fails?”
- “How often do I have to go through the process of turning my idea into a product?”
Developing a fintech product can be a grueling and time-consuming process, especially in the evolving market full of competitors. However, if you are aware of the latest trends and product development methodologies, you’ll know that there are plenty of ways to speed up the process and find the answer to all your concerns at the early stages of planning and experimentation.
My name is Yurii Honcharuk, and I’m a Business Analyst and Scrum Master at DashDevs. With over eight years of experience in fintech product development, I want to tell you more about Scrum methodology and explain why it’s essential to be knowledgeable about this concept if you are a startup, product owner, or anyone with a fantastic idea they want to bring to life.
In just ten minutes, you’ll learn how scrum can help you develop your fintech product faster than traditional waterfall development. You’ll also discover why choosing an outsourced team within the scrum agile methodology is an excellent investment in your product, mental health, and time.
What are Agile and Scrum?
Let’s begin by breaking down the concept of “agile” and understanding its significance within the scrum context.
Agile is a set of adaptable software development methods, including popular approaches like Scrum and Kanban.
The core principle of Agile for software development emphasizes prioritizing people and interactions over rigid processes and tools, placing a higher value on a functioning product than extensive documentation, stressing collaboration with the customer over contractual negotiations, and being open to change rather than rigidly adhering to the initial plan.
Now, let’s move to the “scrum.”
Think of scrum as a structured framework within the agile world. It comes with its guidelines, containing meetings, roles, and ceremonies. Instead of tackling everything at once, an agile team divides the work into manageable stages called sprints, typically short periods, often around one week.
Here’s how it works:
- The team sets new goals before each sprint.
- During and after each sprint, they carefully review and share the tasks they’ve completed with the relevant stakeholders.
- This approach fosters seamless collaboration and rapid issue resolution. As a result, the entire development process becomes speedier, more cost-efficient, and ultimately more successful.
Scrum is a system of procedures specifically designed to facilitate the smooth management of complex fintech projects.
Who Can Benefit from Scrum Methodology?
Scrum is a type of project management that allows you to create and deliver projects faster, especially if we are talking about the development of banking/fintech projects. Let’s see where the scrum is 100% needed:
Complex fintech projects: Building a fintech product usually requires an extensive backlog. You will most likely encompass a wide range of features, design elements, integrations and lines of code. Scrum simplifies the process by breaking each task into smaller parts and completing them faster compared to any other traditional approaches.
Result-oriented fintech teams: Suppose your main focus is observing your code’s performance and how the product evolves with each sprint rather than simply recording tasks and considering them completed. In that case, scrum is the approach you should consider. This method emphasizes achieving results through creative and flexible means instead of a strict, controlling approach that disregards functionality and teamwork.
User-centric companies: Scrum involves interacting with stakeholders and users to assess the product’s functionality and align it with their requirements. It ensures that the team only creates a product that people will use once launched. Scrum prioritizes attention to detail, user experience, inclusivity, and responsiveness to customer needs.
What are the Roles in Agile Scrum Methodology?
There 3 different roles when we are doing Scrum:
#1. Product Owner
This role means you are a stakeholder in a customer’s role, as you are the one who will provide feedback and explain what you want to see in the final product, what features to include and what issues you see during the process as a fintech product potential user.
To ensure that the scrum team always benefits stakeholders and the business, the product owner defines product expectations, logs changes to the product, and administers the scrum backlog, a detailed and constantly updated to-do list for the scrum teams and the project. The product owner is also responsible for prioritizing goals for each sprint based on their value to stakeholders, so that the most important and accessible features are built in each iteration.
#2. Scrum Master
Scrum master, the person who helps coordinate and facilitate fintech project sprints. They’re neither product owners nor developers; they act as intermediaries, ensuring effective communication. Scrum masters oversee meetings and task completion according to scrum principles to maintain a smooth and efficient process. Their responsibilities also involve training the team in these methods.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the scrum master; their role significantly contributes to the project’s smooth operation and compliance with all requirements.
#3. Team Members
A scrum team is a well-organized group of three to nine individuals with diverse skill sets, including fintech expertise, business understanding, design, analytics, and development capabilities. Together, they work, resolve challenges, and deliver finalized products. Each member manages their tasks independently within the team, working together to achieve the sprint’s goals.
What are the Scrum Ceremonies?
Scrum is a method where work is divided into short cycles, known as sprints, generally lasting up to two weeks. Four essential events occur during each sprint to ensure things run smoothly: sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review, and sprint retrospective.
Since scrum is a structured process that can quickly become complex without essential meetings (ceremonies), ceremonies are especially important for teams new to the scrum process. I recommend initially following the Scrum Guide’s instructions and running several sprint cycles. This helps the fintech team understand the fundamental structure before adjusting to fit their needs and tempo.
Let’s take a closer look at these scrum ceremonies.
#1. Sprint Planning
The sprint planning meeting is a crucial part of the scrum. Its vital role lay in getting each sprint off the ground and steering it in the right direction. This meeting takes place before the beginning of each sprint.
Its primary objective is to prepare the entire development team for the approaching sprint. This meeting ensures that every team member is well-informed and aligned with the project’s current status. It encourages individual task completion while maintaining overall project coherence.
#2. Daily Scrum
The daily scrum, or a “standup meeting,” is a short (10-20 minutes) and daily event happening every day (obviously). Unlike lengthy status meetings, the daily stand up scrum keeps things concise and interactive and focuses on brief discussions.
The primary intent of this ceremony is to enhance transparency within the team. It’s designed to give all team members a clear picture of the project’s progress without diving into details.
This practice also encourages accountability as team members openly share what they’ve completed, what they’re currently working on, and any challenges they face. The social aspect of this reporting framework motivates teammates to showcase their accomplishments and tackle issues with the support of their colleagues.
#3. Sprint Review
A sprint review meeting is an event happening at the end of each sprint, a specific project work period. During this meeting, the team shows what they’ve performed. They highlight the new features they’ve built or the work they’ve finished in that sprint. Sprint review helps track progress, get feedback, and encourage teamwork.
The Sprint Review meeting has two primary purposes. First, it’s a point to celebrate what the team has achieved, which increases everyone’s enthusiasm and motivation. Second, it’s a chance to share the completed work with the whole team and get feedback from colleagues and project stakeholders. This feedback is paramount for ongoing advancements and ensuring everyone is aligned with the project manager’s and the project’s goals.
#4. Sprint Retrospective
In this meeting, the team reviews the recently finished sprint: the scrum master facilitates it, and the product owner provides feedback on closed tasks. They examine what went right and what challenges they faced. Importantly, this isn’t about pointing fingers but finding ways to get better and celebrating achievements.
The main goal of the sprint retrospective is to encourage ongoing progress within the team and the product development process. It’s a place for an open discussion about what worked well and what could be done better in the next sprint.
This dedication to improvement aligns with the agile principle of using agile processes, embracing change and swiftly responding to feedback, ensuring the team evolves and excels.
What are the Scrum Artifacts?
Artifacts in scrum are actual representations of work or value.
These three — product backlog, sprint backlog, and increment — are the fundamental artifacts in any scrum project. However, it’s important to note that more elements, such as the product vision or sprint goal, can be considered artifacts. But let’s delve a bit deeper into some of them.
#1. Product Vision
Product vision is where a project begins. It’s like the mission and vision of the whole project, helping everyone understand what they want to create. It guides the development process and reflects what the team and stakeholders envision for the product.
#2. Product Backlog
A product backlog is like a very detailed instruction. It contains all the elements, requirements, and information related to the product. This list evolves as the project progresses, and the person responsible for its management is a product owner. The goal is to have a well-organized list with detailed, estimated, independent, and prioritized items.
#3. Sprint Backlog
The sprint backlog is all about deciding how much work the engineering team can handle in the next sprint. During sprint planning, the team selects the most critical items from the product backlog, breaks them down into tasks, and estimates the effort needed. Notably, the team decides what goes in the sprint backlog.
#4. Product Increment
The product increment is the sum of what’s been completed during the sprint and previous progress. It represents the current state of the product in development, including the work done in the latest sprint.
Real-World Fintech Success with Scrum: How Leading Enterprises Reaching New Heights
Scrum has become a trendy and practical framework for managing complex projects in fintech project management. To illustrate its real-world impact, I’ll provide you with a well-known company’s experience.
This case study reveals how organizations utilize scrum methods to surmount obstacles and attain their project objectives, highlighting its power to enhance efficiency, teamwork, and innovation.
PayPal Case: “Big Bang” Scrum Revolution
PayPal had experienced difficulties due to team conflicts and ineffective communication for a long time, hampered their ability to deliver value to their customers and foster innovation.
So, in May 2013, PayPal started a significant change called the “Big Bang.” The main goal was to focus more on customers and speed up innovation.
So, what is the “Big Bang”?
Instead of gradually changing, PayPal decided to do it all at once. They had to do this because many teams had tough relationships and couldn’t communicate properly, so they needed a clear staffing, delivery, and management plan. To make this happen, more than 150 employees joined forces in different teams to solve various challenges, like how to build products and what processes to use.
PayPal put together over 300 teams with different skills, taking people from eleven development centers worldwide. These teams use agile practices and scrum to work and get training on how to be agile and focus on what customers need.
They changed how the teams were organized. They made a new Product Architecture model, encouraging teams to work closely, stay dedicated to their work, and be stable. They also added more coaches to help the teams.
The “Big Bang” officially started on May 8, 2013. This was a big moment in PayPal’s history. Teams got reshuffled, changed how they worked every day, and even changed the company’s culture.
By 2014, PayPal was a very different place from just two years before. Leaders were more focused on planning what products to make, and “Team Sprints” became the new way to estimate how long things would take. Teams used agile scrum practices and listened to what customers had to say. They planned their work every two weeks to deliver code to customers faster.
Today, PayPal is an example of how to be agile in a big company. They have over 400 teams that work on different products, and they deliver value every two weeks.
MuchBetter Case: Scrum Approach with DashDevs Team
DashDevs team is committed to using the scrum framework to develop products faster and more efficiently, ensuring our projects meet all goals. One such project where we successfully implemented scrum is the award-winning e-wallet MuchBetter.
MuchBetter is a groundbreaking payment app that has become the preferred choice for global gaming sites. It offers secure and rapid money storage, transfer, and receipt capabilities. Additionally, it’s widely accepted at high street retailers and is an easy way to send and receive money from friends and family at no cost.
While working with MuchBetter, our team faced several challenges, including tight time and budget constraints. Hence, we harnessed the power of the scrum framework to address these challenges.
All scrum ceremonies, like sprint planning or daily meetings, were pivotal in our MuchBetter project. It allowed us to tackle complex challenges efficiently by breaking them into manageable components.
For instance, creating a B2B2C payment service that supported multiple providers and integrations while adhering to industry-specific security standards and achieving PCI/DSS compliance presented a substantial undertaking.
Our team systematically approached this problematic task thanks to our scrum-driven approach. Sprint planning helped us prioritize the most critical aspects and allocate resources judiciously. This allowed us to make significant progress without getting overwhelmed by the project’s complexity. As a result, we achieved what initially seemed like a daunting objective while adhering to the budget and timeline, which were the primary challenges at the project’s outset.
Scrum Tools for Efficient Scrum Ceremonies
- A versatile project management software with a focus on sprint planning.
- Offers comprehensive features for agile teams to strategize, allocate, and execute.
- Tailored for small teams and large enterprises alike.
- Recognized for agile methodologies, it streamlines task visualization and customization.
- Detailed reporting tools provide valuable insights for performance improvements.
- Perfect for engineering and software development teams.
- Prioritizes simplicity while enhancing efficiency.
- Offers an intuitive interface for priority setting, efficient task allocation, and real-time progress tracking.
- Encourages collaboration among team members.
- Known for algorithm-driven planning, offering predictive insights for efficient sprint management.
- Emphasizes visual timelines to streamline task and dependency understanding.
- A proactive approach to identifying and overcoming challenges.
#5. Scrum Mate
- Dedicated to Scrum methodology, ensuring precise implementation.
- Offers clear visual boards for task, progress, and backlog management.
- Fosters deep understanding and collaboration among team members.
#6. Tara AI
- Leverages artificial intelligence for efficient sprint planning.
- Assists with task allocation and roadblock predictions.
- Continually refine suggestions and insights based on team usage.
- Designed for fast-paced environments.
- Simplifies backlog management, task tracking, and collaboration.
- Offers a panoramic view of sprints for clarity.
- Combines simplicity and sophistication in sprint planning.
- Focuses on tasks, milestones, and collaboration, ensuring meaningful sprints.
- User-centric design for easy navigation.
- Fosters collaboration as a fundamental philosophy.
- Offers clear task boards and timeline views for synchronized sprint planning.
- Integrated chat and discussion features encourage seamless communication.
- Aligns features and tasks with user needs and product strategy.
- Captures user feedback to prioritize features.
- Ensures a user-centric approach in sprint execution.
- Enhance customer-centric thinking with insightful diagrams and tables.
- Empower workshops, feedback cycles, and dynamic visualizations.
- Auto-generate mindmaps, charts, code, and summaries.
- Unify content and data visualization.
DashDevs: Empowering Fintech Through Scrum
In the ever-evolving landscape of the fintech industry, adaptability is key. Scrum project management methodology has emerged as a practical tool to navigate this change.
At DashDevs, we’ve forged partnerships with our clients to help them leverage these methodologies. Our team, composed of industry experts, project managers, scrum masters, and business analysts, collaborates closely with each client. We work together to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, foster innovation, and respond to the shifting market dynamics.
Scrum will be pivotal in shaping its future as the banking sector continues its transformation. DashDevs is here to guide your organization toward success in this transformative journey. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always ready to consult you and answer all your questions!