Back in Boston, I had fallen in with a tough crowd whom I remain in-touch with – they’re heavily involved with Agile and with Scrum. If I’m not careful, they might influence my project style in some insidious way!
Seriously, though, I have had some interest in learning more about both of them. First of all, Scrum is a project or program management approach: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(development)
Next, Agile, is a software development methodology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development
In any case, I do sometimes like to learn what’s going on outside our Laboratory Informatics world and found that these are interesting and “hot,” right now. I went to a meeting of medical device software developers and found that that community talks quite a lot of Agile as their software development methodology. I’ve become curious to know if any people in, say, LIMS or ELN or bioinformatics are also starting to use this methodology. If you’re developing software, it’s worth taking a look at, I think.
As for Scrum, I went to an event called “Give Thanks for Scrum” held the day before the American Thanksgiving. It was a half-day event with a lot of food and music to split-up the talks a bit. The speakers were quite interesting. Even though I knew nothing about it before attending this event, I thought they had some good examples of applications. By the way, although Scrum seems to be primarily used by software developers, it’s actually used by other types of projects, too, and non-software project managers who attended this event confirmed that this strategy can work well for other situations, too.
One thing specific about both of these, is that they’re meant to work with cross-functional teams, something many of us are doing on a regular basis. However, Agile apparently is not appropriate unless the majority of your team is working together in close physical distance, which is not necessarily the case on our projects, these days.