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Does Scrum make sense for RPA development?

Jun 15, 2023 | 3 min read

At Roboyo, we make use of agile methodologies such as Scrum to help clients take their automation programs to the next level while making some RPA-specific adaptations along the way.

When you’re automating processes that are critical to your business, it’s important to ensure that your RPA development is managed closely.

Budgets, timelines and open communication are all vital to help maximize the value from automation and avoid delays and hold-ups.

How do you do this successfully? To take the pressure off, it’s helpful to engage a partner who can provide a dedicated Project Manager and who uses an agile framework adapted to the demands of RPA.

At Roboyo, we do this.

In fact, we’ve developed our own approach to RPA project management by adapting the principles of the Scrum framework.

Scrum and RPA Development

At Roboyo, we believe that to manage budgets and timelines successfully, you need procedures and processes that ensure transparency, regular inspection, and capacity to adapt. These are the three pillars on which Scrum is based, according to the 2020 Scrum Guide.

The Scrum Guide is designed to help people, teams, and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions to problems, which is, of course, what we all want to do.

So, at Roboyo, we use aspects of Scrum and agile methodology as part of our ways of working.

For example, we manage development in two-week “sprints”, characterized by events such as the Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Retrospective. These help to apply structure to our development work.

That said, Scrum isn’t designed for RPA teams – which means that to use it for RPA, it needs to be adapted. Yet a fundamental ‘rule’ of Scrum is that it’s a framework which only exists in its entirety. To use it for RPA development, you need to break that rule and understand the differences that need to be overcome.

How does Scrum for RPA look different?

Here are three reasons why, at Roboyo, we adapt Scrum to maximize its power when working on RPA:

Project Managers are necessary for RPA

Compared to other types of development, RPA doesn’t involve as many chances to iterate and make simple changes.

So, without a Project Manager, it can be difficult to monitor developers’ progress and keep projects on time and on budget with clear accountabilities, priorities and/or goals.

A Project Manager can remove obstacles to project completion while handling other responsibilities such as engaging stakeholders, prioritizing process backlogs, and managing the pipeline of work.

But the role of a Project Manager isn’t included in Scrum framework, so we think it’s necessary to adapt Scrum to cover this.

Scrum is cross-functional, but that’s not how RPA works best

Scrum demands cross-functional teams where each team member takes responsibility for any given task. But RPA works best when a single developer is developing, testing and delivering the automation from end to end.

At Roboyo, for example, we provide not just developers, but solution architects who are responsible for design and managing technical risk, business analysts who gather requirements and, of course, those vital Project Managers.

Everyone brings their own set of skills that help make our clients’ automation programs successful.

Scrum requires a team to be self-managing, but RPA relies on the business

A requirement of Scrum is that the team is self-managing. Its members decide internally what to work on and when.

But in RPA, teams often need to rely on business stakeholders and application owners to provide necessary inputs to development – whether that’s to create a mapping file, provide access to an API or rework the manual process.

These teams are almost always juggling the RPA project with their own workload – so the RPA team needs to work directly with them to understand these limitations.

Of all the differences, one of the most important is the Project Manager. When it comes to Scrum, a Roboyo Project Manager is a ‘rule breaker’, trained to use parts of Scrum that make the most sense to keep developers or even business analysts unblocked and moving towards your organization’s goals.

That’s why, when you ask Roboyo to help your organization with intelligent automation, we provide you with that Project Manager.

Upholding the values of Scrum

We keep “Daily Scrum” meetings short.
“Daily Scrums” are our status check-ins, and we try to keep them short. By doing this, we can focus on sprint goals while reporting on progress effectively for clients.

We closely define when work is “done”
It’s important that everyone knows where they stand, so our business analysts create a process definition document (PDD) that properly defines the process and its business requirements – and we ask you to sign off on this.

We prioritize projects that add most value
To be effective, RPA projects must have some sort of critical impact on your business. This could be quantitative, such as saving/earning money, or providing more time to your people but it can also be qualitative, such as increasing customer or employee satisfaction, so we take account of value when defining sprint goals.

We set internal goals
We don’t want to over-promise on deadlines, so we create internal “velocity goals” to guide our developers during a sprint. Our Project Managers use these to create realistic time estimates so deadlines can be met and resources can be used effectively.

Overall, our Project Managers seek to facilitate an environment that encompasses the values of Scrum while adapting it to suit the demands of RPA.

Next Level. Now.

Discover how Roboyo can help meet your next-level automation goals with the help of our Project Managers, business analysts, developers and solution architects. Book a meeting with our automation experts today.

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