I have been working on a Scrum team for more than three years in different roles and for different products (all related to software development). I am thankful for what I get out of Scrum. I give Scrum a high rating because of the following benefits my team and I have realized:
Before starting with the Scrum team, I had worked with a team that followed the Waterfall model. It is a nightmare for me to even recall the experience. I worked as a tester, but I never knew what was happening on the other side of the code unless the product was in the test phase. Understanding the product and testing it were my greatest hurdles.
As a tester who was not involved during the early phase of product development, I felt completely lost. But now Scrum empowers me as QA engineer to become involved in the product development from the beginning of the cycle. From the initial project-based learning meeting to retrospectives, all are involved in every activity. The whole-team approach allows everyone on the team to play out their roles. This, in turn, helps the team keep the processes and product development transparent. It's the key success factor for most of the teams. Transparency provides you with a shared understanding about the product, which helps you deliver quality and value.
Working with a self-organized team gives you the freedom to innovate. In the past seven months, I've been working on a small Scrum team that is highly skillful in implementing Scrum. What I like most is that our product owner (PO) is not available most of the time. He is available only two to three days a week.
As a self-organized team, we make sure that when the PO is within reach, we are working on product refinement and asking the necessary questions we need to deliver a particular story. Sometimes we feel as if we had missed some requirements or failed to ask questions, but we implement solutions based on team decisions and mutual understanding, which led to really cool solutions. Sometimes the PO had never thought about that particular way out of a problem. I am sure that we would not have found those solutions without being self-organized.
Trust is the key driver for my Scrum team. We trust each other to produce a quality product for our customer. Scrum provided us with the capacity and educated us about the trust. Trust is an entire discussion on its own, but I will sum it up in a way that makes the most sense to us:
We trust that every one is loyal to the product we are working on. This enables us to talk more openly in our retrospectives. Our aim is to not blame anyone; we're all here for the betterment of the product. As we share the same understanding, we often generate important discussions that lead to a specific action plan to execute in the next sprint. You cannot do this without trusting your team.
Many factors could have improved my understanding, but the above takeaways made a true impact. Based on my experience, before you start formal work under a Scrum model, I would recommend that you consider these.