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Employing SCRUM methods for a cooperative virtual reconstruction of architectural heritage

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Structured Abstract Purpose – In the field of virtual reconstruction of architectural heritage cooperation and management highly influence a project progress and success. This paper presents and discusses practical problems and challenges related to cross-disciplinary cooperation within professional and educational contexts. The usage of SCRUM as a procedure model from agile software development will be presented and discussed as a promising approach to deal with these challenges. Moreover, the paper sketches a layout to implement and evaluate this method in context of a project based learning setting. Design/methodology/approach – To discover challenges and problems in cooperation practice, authors performed five case studies about reconstruction projects in academic context. By using Grounded Theory as a qualitative empirical approach, several typical challenges of objective setting, cross-disciplinary communication and project management were identified. Against this background, an application and prospected additional values of SCRUM are discussed on a conceptual level. Originality/value – The article inherits a discussion of general potentials of SCRUM in context of virtual reconstruction projects. Moreover, a layout for a usage of SCRUM within an educational project setting is sketched. Practical implications – A practical course which bases on the developed layout is proposed to take place in early 2016.
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Employing SCRUM methods for a cooperative virtual
reconstruction of architectural heritage
Sander Münster *
Media Center, Technische Universität Dresden
D-01062 Dresden
Cindy Kröber
Media Center, Technische Universität Dresden
D-01062 Dresden
Aline Bergert
Media Center , Technische Universität Freiberg
Akademiestraße 6, D-09599 Freiberg
Lars Schlenker
Media Center , Technische Universität Dresden
D-01062 Dresden
* Corresponding author
Structured Abstract
PurposeIn the field of virtual reconstruction of architectural heritage cooperation and
management highly influence a project progress and success. This paper presents and
discusses practical problems and challenges related to cross-disciplinary cooperation
within professional and educational contexts. The usage of SCRUM as a procedure model
from agile software development will be presented and discussed as a promising approach
to deal with these challenges. Moreover, the paper sketches a lay-out to implement and
evaluate this method in context of a project based learning setting.
Design/methodology/approach To discover challenges and problems in cooperation
practice, authors performed five case studies about reconstruction projects in academic
context. By using Grounded Theory as a qualitative empirical approach, several typical
challenges of objective setting, cross-disciplinary communication and project
management were identified. Against this background, an application and prospected
additional values of SCRUM are discussed on a conceptual level.
Originality/value The article inherits a discussion of general potentials of SCRUM in
context of virtual reconstruction projects. Moreover, a layout for a usage of SCRUM
within an educational project setting is sketched.
Practical implicationsA practical course which bases on the developed layout is
proposed to take place in early 2016.
10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Bari, Italy 10-12 June 2015
Published in Proceedings IFKAD2015
ISBN: 978-88-96687-07-9
ISSN: 2280-787X
2331
Keywords SCRUM, project management, architectural heritage, cross-disciplinary
cooperation
Paper typeConceptual Paper
1 Introduction
Virtual reconstruction techniques, 3D models and resultant 3D visualizations are
nowadays widely used to research and illustrate historic objects. Contexts are for example
academic research, museum presentation to the general public, education as well as
entertainment (Münster, 2011). A virtual reconstruction of non-extant architectural
heritage is challenging, and not only due to its recommendation to retrieve information
about an object reconstructed from historical sources. Moreover, related projects are often
realised by cross-disciplinary teams, thus requiring development of joint communication
and cooperation strategies (Münster, Schlenker et al., 2014). Our investigations in
professional and educational settings showed that especially communication and project
management in terms of objective prioritisation, time management, and progress review
can be challenging when applied to the field of architectural heritage reconstruction.
SCRUM, a procedure model from agile software development, promises to deliver
valuable strategies for sequencing of work processes, a cross-disciplinary setting,
adjustment and prioritisation of objectives, as well as documentation of project progress
(Schwaber and Sutherland, 2011). For thus, this article discusses the following questions:
What are current strategies for cooperation and project management as well
as related challenges in practical projects for a virtual reconstruction of
architectural heritage?
What is SCRUM and how could SCRUM potentially affect a cooperation
and outcome quality within these projects?
While SCRUM has been to date rarely used in the cultural heritage context we would
like to propose and evaluate a methodology to apply SCRUM techniques for a
cooperative virtual reconstruction of architectural heritage. In particular we’d like to lay-
out a SCRUM based educational project setting which is proposed to take place in early
2016.
2 Strategies and challenges of cooperative virtual reconstruction of
architectural heritage
Protagonists involved in cross-disciplinary projects on the virtual reconstructions of
architectural heritage are usually a) scholars from the humanities, who provide the content
and knowledge about the research objects, and b) engineers and computer scientists who
acquire and process data for the visualizations. Additionally especially in presentational
projects c) experts in media education who develop a concept to present the findings and
visualizations to the audience and d) technicians implementing the design and
presentation concept are involved.
10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Bari, Italy 10-12 June 2015
Published in Proceedings IFKAD2015
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ISSN: 2280-787X
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2.1 Research design
To identify strategies and workflows as well as challenges of cooperation within
cross-disciplinary architectural heritage projects, the authors researched both, educational
and professional project configurations. To analyse the latter type of projects, in a first
stage four case studies were performed to examine knowledge-related aspects and their
evolution during a creation process of digital heritage objects in academic context. As
data in all four cases, a total of 9 interviews with key role team members took place; in
addition, 6 direct and participating observations of team meetings were carried out. Also a
significant number of documents, including logfiles, communication data, protocols,
sources, and model renderings, were included in the investigation. The leading paradigm
for an evaluation was a mixed methods approach including heuristic frameworks and
Grounded Theory (Strauss and Corbin, 1996; Bryant and Charmaz, 2010). Investigated
projects took place between 2006 and 2014 with durations between 6 months and nearly
10 years and between 2 and 30 team members. Moreover, a second stage investigated
educational settings and focused on a development of strategies in peer cooperation.
Supported by the Saxon Centre for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, an
educational project was performed aiming at the creation of an audio-visual guide for
smartphones which describes certain places of interest and no longer extant construction
stages for the cathedral in Freiberg in eastern Germany (Kröber and Münster, 2014). The
project dated from April to October 2014 and involved 30 student participants belonging
to the fields of art history, linguistics, and geo science. For the project-based work 10
student teams were formed involving students of the humanities focussing on a research
and textual description of certain historical aspects and students of geo sciences to
perform virtual reconstructions and animations to emphasise the results.
2.2 Identified challenges
Which cooperation challenges were visible due to these investigations? As a general
finding, project success and efficiency highly rely on quality and experience related to
both, an application of professional knowledge and interdisciplinary cooperation skills of
the involved persons. Moreover, several typical problems were discovered which
occurred for both, professional and educational settings:
Objective setting
Due to their nature of being innovation projects (Hauschildt and Salomo, 2010),
which deal with “wicked problems” (Rittel and Webber, 1973), neither a qualitative final
result nor an itinerary can be estimated in advance. Instead, these projects have to be
developed and adjusted throughout the work process. In academic practice, objectives and
focus settings highly rely on the project leader and his or her disciplinary background.
Moreover, a joint vision of the project team for a final quality as well as related criteria
often evolve slowly during a project progress. As a consequence and while most projects
are led by researchers with a background in humanities, their focus lays on a historical
accuracy of created virtual reconstructions. In contrast, other quality aspects like i.e. a
didactical quality or a technical model quality are less dominant objectives within a
10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Bari, Italy 10-12 June 2015
Published in Proceedings IFKAD2015
ISBN: 978-88-96687-07-9
ISSN: 2280-787X
2333
practical work. Moreover, the slow evolvement of transparent and joint quality criteria
cause a heterogeneous quality of outcomes and time intense - correction work in later
project stages.
Cross-disciplinary communication
According to Knorr-Cetina disciplinarity is closely related to “epistemic cultures”
(Knorr-Cetina, 1999), which contain aspects like a certain methodology and terminology
of disciplines. One major obstacle for a professional cooperation between individuals
with different disciplinary backgrounds is to synchronise their professional mental models
in terms of problem solving routines and terminology and to build a common ground of
communication and knowledge exchange (Clark, 1996). Especially for a cross-
disciplinary communication, aspects such as varying meanings of the same terms across
disciplines or, in an opposite manner, a usage of different terms for the same content is
relevant (Bromme, 2000). Moreover, varying problem solving routines and disciplinary
methodologies make it necessary to define responsibilities as well as areas and routines
for information exchange and collaboration in interdisciplinary working teams (Wegner,
1986; Galison, 1997). Both, a common ground for communication as well as exchange
procedures often evolve slowly during a project progress and highly depend on the
growth of experience and familiarity in cooperation practice. Moreover, several general
good-practice strategies were visible which could enhance the quality and sustainability
of information transferred between involved persons, such as a simplifications of
disciplinary terminology in cross-disciplinary communication, the intensive use of images
and visual media as well as the definition and learning of boundary related knowledge
like in- and outputs of work processes or the knowledge about who knows what.
Project management
While self-organisation capabilities of teams are one of the big chances of team based
work (Lundin and Söderholm, 1995), especially in academic cross-disciplinary
cooperation a development of efficient strategies and routines of self-organisation often
fails. Differing interests and quality expectations as well as weak incentives for a
sufficient and quick finishing of projects often cause severe and long-lasting frictions and
lead to project delays, budget overruns and conflicts between stakeholders. Moreover,
team members are mostly matrix organised - in terms of mutual involved in teams and
institutional structures - and multiple tasks are assigned. Even if the project leader of
academic projects widely influences the setting of general objectives of a project he or
she has only few instruments to motivate or punish employees and to assign individual
time capacities. As a consequence, strategies for a synchronisation of expectations and for
a consecutive task prioritization within project teams have to be developed. Moreover,
instruments for a continuously progress monitoring and an early awareness of delays and
frictions are required as well as instruments for the time management and assignment of
the team and its members.
In all discovered projects, strategies to cope with the described challenges were
mostly developed over time, intuitive and little systematic as well as primarily against the
10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Bari, Italy 10-12 June 2015
Published in Proceedings IFKAD2015
ISBN: 978-88-96687-07-9
ISSN: 2280-787X
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background of manifesting problems and demands (Münster, 2014). As a consequence, a
strategy development process in practice bases largely on trial and error and especially
early and ground breaking project stages are often characterized by cooperation related
problems. One approach to enhance a cooperation quality in future projects may be the
adoption of established and standardized methods for cross-disciplinary project
management - as for example SCRUM.
3 What is SCRUM?
SCRUM derives from the agile software development movement describing an
iterative, incremental method for cooperative product development (Davies and Sedley,
2009, p. XIII). The elaborate and well approved process model supports management and
control within rapidly changing, cooperative projects. Therefore, it is well suited to be
adopted for creative content production projects (e.g. Leifer, Plattner et al., 2013, pp. 187-
189).
Figure 1 - Overview of a SCRUM process
SCRUM contains a variety of instructions on work practice based on chronological
sequencing, planning and monitoring of project steps e.g. definitions of requirements and
regular meetings for different purposes (c.f. Fig. 1). The key features include a
comprehensible project progress, a regular verification of advances concerning quality
and importance for the achievement of the objectives as well as the adjustment of the
workflow towards goals and requirements (Schwaber and Sutherland, 2011, p. 5).
Significant authority and responsibility for many aspects of the team’s work is a
characteristic in SCRUM which is enabled and supported by these key features (Moe,
10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Bari, Italy 10-12 June 2015
Published in Proceedings IFKAD2015
ISBN: 978-88-96687-07-9
ISSN: 2280-787X
2335
Dingsøyr et al., 2010). The SCRUM model relies on three major components: roles,
artifacts and the process.
3.1 SCRUM Roles
To keep the model simple, SCRUM distinguishes only between three different roles.
The so called product owner is usually a manager who represents the interests of
everyone involved in the project. He defines and negotiates the results and outcomes of
the overall project, turning them into the list of requirements referred to as backlog. By
frequently prioritizing he ensures that the most valuable assignments are worked on first
and other demands will be picked up for the next iteration. A self-managing, self-
organizing, and cross-functional team which executes the tasks and the SCRUM Master
who is responsible of the SCRUM process. He is part of the team and a) teaches the
SCRUM concept to everyone involved, b) takes care of the implementation and adaption
of SCRUM and c) ensures that the SCRUM rules and practices are followed (Cervone,
2011).
3.2 SCRUM artifacts
Product and sprint backlog are both task lists to guide the direction of the project
work. The product backlog is an initial estimate of requirements for the final outcome
that all project partners agreed on and evolves over time as the project moves forward.
Prioritizing helps to determine the order in which tasks need to be worked on (Schwaber,
2004). The sprint backlog is actually a subset of the product backlog created by the
executive team. It also enriches the product backlog (Moe, Dingsøyr et al., 2010). So
called burn down charts indicate the progress of the work and provide comprehensible
information by representing tasks through terms of time and duration (Cervone, 2011).
3.3 SCRUM process
The SCRUM process comprises a series of sprints (c.f. Figure 1). A sprint is an
iteration with a fixed length to work on the project. During the sprint planning meeting
in the beginning of every sprint, the product owner and the team define the tasks for the
sprint, based on the requirements within the product backlog and the estimated time for a
solution. Afterwards the team plans out the whole sprint by creating the sprint backlog
and distributing work (Foegen, Meyser et al., 2013).
While working on the project, the team gets together for regularly (daily), short (15
min.) SCRUM meetings. Each team member has to answer three questions: 1) What
have you done since the last SCRUM meeting? 2) Which difficulties were encountered?
3) What will you do until the next SCRUM meeting? The SCRUM Master hosts the
meeting and proposes solutions for the issues at the meeting. These short meetings allow
to monitor the progress closely and promise to detect and solve problems more easily.
A sprint review meeting is held at the end of the sprint. First, the team presents their
work and results to the product owner and interested parties who want to attend.
10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Bari, Italy 10-12 June 2015
Published in Proceedings IFKAD2015
ISBN: 978-88-96687-07-9
ISSN: 2280-787X
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Afterwards, all participants collaboratively evaluate the outcome, propose adjustments
and determine the next steps. The next iteration of a sprint would follow.
4 Employing SCRUM methods for a cooperative virtual reconstruction of
architectural heritage a project outline
Table 1 - Negotiation of possible SCRUM benefits
Identified
Challenges
Negotiation of possible SCRUM benefits
Objective setting
Communication
Project
management
SCRUM delivers elaborated techniques for a cross-disciplinary, iterative
and outcome oriented objective setting
SCRUM defines a communicational framework setting but no
communication principles
SCRUM inherits principles of team based task prioritization and team
based resource management and allocation as well as elaborated
techniques for progress monitoring
Related to the challenges identified in paragraph 2.2, SCRUM methods promise to
support especially a cross disciplinary objective setting and task prioritization as well as a
progress monitoring and appropriate resource management and allocation (c.f. Table 1).
Possible general problems within the usage of SCRUM primarily relate to lacking
compatibility of stakeholders philosophy and culture, insufficient organization and
communication principles and the need of training for an appropriate practice of methods
(Version One, 2015, p. 10). Specifically in our context, a team based decision making and
product orientation may contrast with the philosophy for best scientific quality which
characterizes academic projects (Münster, 2013). Even if SCRUM may deliver a
cooperation blueprint, its adoption and education would potentially cause additional work
and require external coaches. Last but not least especially the rigid and detailed
periodicity of meetings may contrast to the often distant work of the teams in virtual
reconstruction project practice.
To date SCRUM methodology to the author’s knowledge is rarely applied in context
of virtual reconstruction projects. As one of the sparse examples, Baldwin and Flaten
(Baldwin and Flaten, 2012) adopted the Agile process into a long-term educational
project setting which aimed on the digital reconstruction of an ancient Temple and
developed and tested an elaborated set of rules and principles for cooperation. While this
paper delivers an elaborated approach, an evaluation and comparison of a SCRUM usage
or other workflow models and practices in both, academic and professional settings of
virtual reconstruction of architectural heritage is still missing. For thus, the authors
developed a lay-out for a SCRUM-based educational project setting. This focus setting
bases on practical reasons: In comparison to professional settings, educational projects are
relatively easy to set up and allow evaluating experimental cooperation approaches.
Furthermore, an adoption and application for professional project settings is intended for
a future project. While an educational setting focusses on a process and not as originally
10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Bari, Italy 10-12 June 2015
Published in Proceedings IFKAD2015
ISBN: 978-88-96687-07-9
ISSN: 2280-787X
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intended by SCRUM as methodology for professional cooperation a product or
outcome, several transitions of a methodology have to be considered.
Based on the work of Baldwin and Flaten and numerous concepts for other academic
contexts (Pope-Ruark, Eichel et al., 2011; von Wangenheim, Savi et al., 2013) a course is
intended to take place between April and September 2016.
Table 2 - Initial set of principles (According to Baldwin and Flaten, 2012, p. 36)
Principles of SCRUM in project based learning settings dealing with a virtual reconstruction
of architectural heritage
1. Keep general objectives and desired outcomes in focus of all work.
2. Create a sustainable pace through small changes over short timescales.
3. Supply motivation and individual responsibility as well as an open communication culture.
5.
Effective and efficient communication within and between teams is essential and have to be
promoted.
6. Keep workflows simple.
7. Foster cross-disciplinary meetings and decisions to promote accuracy.
8. The team must frequently analyse and adjust preliminary results and workflows.
To evaluate the use of SCRUM methods in comparison to less standardized project
management approaches which were performed during the seminar described in
paragraph 2.1, the general setting of the course will be kept comparable. As a leading
principle, cross-disciplinary student work groups are proposed to create visual and textual
content for a specific architectural object as part as of an electronic guide and will be
supported by various courses for developing disciplinary and cross-disciplinary
competencies. In addition to the former course lay-out, two specific SCRUM courses will
be offered for all participants in the beginning of the educational project. These full day
workshops will be held in cooperation with professional SCRUM trainers and are
intended a) to educate SCRUM principles and raise SCRUM awareness, b) to adopt
SCRUM principles to the specific student workgroups needs. For thus, the initial set of
principles basing on those developed by Baldwin and Flaten will be adopted and modified
(c.f. Table 2).
Moreover, for later project stages a continuous supervision of SCRUM application is
offered by periodic expert hearings. The roles of SCRUM are applied within each
workgroup and SCRUM masters will be elected who are responsible for the
implementation and the observation of SCRUM process in these workgroups. To
substitute the perspective of clients while ensuring quality and supervision, lecturers take
on the role of product owner. Therefore they are involved in the SCRUM process but do
not partake in team activities. To adopt SCRUM for distant cooperation, caused by the
involvement of students from several universities, video conferencing tools are intended
to be used.
10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Bari, Italy 10-12 June 2015
Published in Proceedings IFKAD2015
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ISSN: 2280-787X
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To evaluate a success of the course and in particular a SCRUM application we intend
to use both, formative and summative evaluation methods. During a former round of the
course program which relied on less standardized management approaches we developed
and applied a set of qualitative and quantitative empirical instruments to evaluate a
quality of a process and its results as well as upcoming problems and strategies (Kröber
and Münster, Forthcoming). Even if virtual reconstructions are highly unique projects
several limitations regarding an evaluation quality have to be taken into concern, we
expect a detailed feedback on possible benefits of SCRUM when comparing results from
this former and the proposed course.
4 Summary
While a virtual reconstruction of architectural heritage is widely researched in terms
of technical and methodological issues, a related cooperation process within these
projects is rarely an object of research. Compared with this, a cooperation quality highly
influences results and processes of virtual reconstruction projects. Moreover, several
typical challenges can be discovered for both, educational and professional project
settings. In contrast, a project and cooperation management in academic projects is
characterized by highly intuitive and less systematic developed strategies which are
mostly developed in reaction of manifesting problems. One promising approach to
enhance cooperation quality may be the adoption of established and standardized methods
like SCRUM for cross-disciplinary project management. To negotiate SCRUM within a
practical scenario, we developed a project lay-out for a project based learning course
dealing with the virtual reconstruction of architectural heritage which is proposed to take
place in early 2016.
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ISSN: 2280-787X
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... Parts of chapter 9 has been published in [24,169,351]. Chapter 10 is partly an excerpt from [4,24,56,674,763]. Parts of chapter 11 were originally published in [351,614,674]. ...
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This project seminar aims at creating and evaluating a manual for interdisciplinary projects as part of a learning process. Working together, pedagogies and students from different disciplines assess tools and recommendations for successful collaborations while developing an app for the cathedral in Freiberg. As part of the project the students gain expertise in project management and are introduced to techniques form other disciplines which complement their work for the app. The results of the project seminar and the manual may be assigned to other interdisciplinary projects.
Book
'Tony Bryant and Kathy Charmaz are the perfect editors for this excellent and forward looking Handbook which is surely destined to be a classic' - David Silverman, Professor Emeritus, Goldsmiths College For anyone interested in grounded theory this is a must have book. No longer will students have to search the library or internet to find authoritative voices on a variety of topics. It's all right there at their fingertips - Juliet Corbin, San José State University Grounded Theory is by far the most widely used research method across a wide range of disciplines and subject areas, including social sciences, nursing and healthcare, medical sociology, information systems, psychology, and anthropology. This handbook gives a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of Grounded Theory, taking into account the many attempts to revise and refine Glaser and Strauss' original formulation and the debates that have followed. Antony Bryant & Kathy Charmaz bring together leading researchers and practitioners of the method from the US, the UK, Australia and Europe to represent all the major standpoints within Grounded Theory, demonstrating the richness of the approach. The contributions cover a wide range of perspectives on the method, covering its features and ramifications, its intricacies in use, its demands on the skills and capabilities of the researcher and its position in the domain of research methods. The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory is an indispensable reference source for academics and researchers across many disciplines who want to develop their understanding of the Grounded Theory method.
Article
Due to the increasing use of agile methods, teaching SCRUM as an agile project management methodology has become more and more important. In order to teach students to be able to apply SCRUM in concrete situations, often educational (simulation) games are used. However, most of these games have been developed more for professional trainings than taking into consideration typical restrictions of university courses (such as, class duration and low financial resources for instructional materials). Therefore, we present a manual paper and pencil game to reinforce and teach the application of SCRUM in undergraduate computing programmes complementing theoretical lectures. The game has been developed following a systematic instructional design process and based on our teaching experience. It has been applied several times in two undergraduate project management courses. We evaluated motivation, user experience and the game's contribution to learning through case studies on Kirkpatrick's level one based on the perception of the students. First results indicate the potential of the game to contribute to the learning of SCRUM in an engaging way, keeping students immersed in the learning task. In this regard, the game offers a low-budget alternative to complement traditional instructional strategies for teaching SCRUM in the classroom.