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This past semester in my Systems Analysis class we have been working with Scrum and applying it to different class projects and such. I thought I would try out applying it to my business processes with my freelance web design agency, Spark Genius. In the past I had not really applied any sort of development methodology besides “getting it done,” and I thought it might be very beneficial.

I took my newest project and analyzed the design, breaking the project into reasonable releases and then sprints. Using the very excellent Scrum organization tool Scrumy, I wrote up all my user stories from my product backlog, and broke them all out into different sprints. I felt super prepared, and ready to watch my burndown charts trend down into completion!

The overall experience was mixed. Of positive note, I really liked the idea of splitting tasks into user stories and sprints, and knowing exactly what I was working on at any time. It helped me concentrate on one set of features at a time, and helped me not to get sidetracked. Scrumy was also an excellent tool for helping me to remember what else needed to be done, and what was coming up.

However, the one thing I realized was that being a project owner, developer, scrum master, and everything else just does not work. The full potential of the Scrum methodology cannot be accomplished with just one person (go figure!). Because I am the sole person at my agency, I found myself really just using my product backlog as a checklist. Because I wasn’t working in a team, there wasn’t a whole lot of added value that would normally come from applying Scrum.

Now all of this is not to say that Scrum "didn’t work," just that you need a team of 5-7 as the Scrum guide suggests to truly make Scrum effective. I will certainly be applying Scrum in team settings in the future, and will probably keep a lot of those elements in my own personal methodologies as I’m working alone. So go ahead everyone, use Scrum!