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The Basics of Scrum: A Comprehensive Overview

Hitesh Umaletiya
Hitesh Umaletiya
November 17, 2023
Clock icon9 mins read
Calendar iconLast updated November 17, 2023
Banner-Basic of scrum

Introduction 

Scrum is a popular framework for agile project management and product development. It was initially introduced in the early 1990s by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber and has since gained widespread adoption in various industries for managing complex work.

Scrum in a nutshell

Scrum is lightweight, flexible, and iterative, making it well-suited for projects with changing or evolving requirements. It emphasises collaboration, communication, and delivering value to the customer early and frequently. Scrum is widely used in software development but has found applications in various other fields such as marketing, research, and product development.

Scrum Roles

1. Scrum Master 

The Scrum Master is the one who holds things together, helping the PO to define value, and communicating that value to the team so that they can deliver it. He or she creates and facilitates an environment that is conducive to Scrum success.

2. Product Owner

The Product Owner is the person who creates the Product vision, sets the direction for each sprint, and acts as the bridge between the team, customers and stakeholders. The PO maintains and manages the Product Backlog which determines the progress of the product development.

3. Development Team

The Scrum Team is a cross-functional, self-organising group of developers who are jointly responsible for product delivery. A team usually comprises not more than seven people, who are required to communicate and collaborate well together.  

There is no hierarchy on a Scrum team, and the Scrum Master is considered their ‘servant leader’ and not their manager.

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Scrum Events

1. Sprint

  • A Sprint is a time-boxed iteration in Scrum, typically lasting 2-4 weeks, during which a potentially shippable product increment is created.
  • The work to be completed during the Sprint is determined by the Product Owner, and it comes from the product backlog.

2. Product Backlog

  • The Product Backlog is a prioritised list of features, user stories, and tasks that represent the work to be done on the product.
  • The Product Owner continually refines and prioritises the backlog based on feedback and changing requirements.

3. Sprint Backlog 

  • The Sprint Backlog is a subset of the Product Backlog items selected for the current sprint.
  • The Development Team commits to completing the items in the Sprint Backlog during the sprint.

4. Daily Scrum

  • A Daily Scrum, also known as a daily stand-up, is a short daily meeting where the Development Team synchronises their work and discusses progress, challenges, and plans for the day.

5. Sprint Review 

  • At the end of each sprint, a Sprint Review is held to demonstrate the work done and gather feedback from stakeholders.
  • The Product Owner updates the product backlog based on this feedback.

6. Sprint Retrospective

  • After the Sprint Review, the team conducts a Sprint Retrospective to reflect on their processes and identify opportunities for improvement.

Scrum Artifacts 

Scrum defines three main artifacts to facilitate transparency, inspection, and adaptation throughout a project. These artifacts are crucial in helping teams manage their work effectively and deliver value to the customer. Here are the Scrum artifacts:

1. Product Backlog

  • The Product Backlog is an ordered list of all items that could potentially be included in the product. These items can be features, user stories, bug fixes, technical tasks, or any other work that needs to be done.
  • The Product Owner is responsible for creating and maintaining the Product Backlog. They prioritise items based on their value, customer feedback, and changing business needs.
  • The Product Backlog is dynamic and can change over time as new requirements emerge or existing ones are refined. Items at the top of the backlog are generally more detailed and well-understood than those lower down.

2. Sprint Backlog

  • The Sprint Backlog is a subset of items from the Product Backlog that the Development Team commits to completing during a specific sprint.
  • The Development Team selects these items based on their capacity and the priority set by the Product Owner. The Sprint Backlog is essentially a plan for the work to be done during the sprint.
  • It is important to note that the Sprint Backlog can evolve during the sprint as the team learns more about the work or encounters unexpected challenges.

3. Increment

  • The Increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog items that have been completed during the current sprint, as well as all previous sprints.
  • At the end of each sprint, the Development Team delivers a potentially shippable product increment. This means that the product should be in a usable and valuable state, even if not all features have been implemented yet.
  • The Increment represents the tangible progress made toward the project's goals and provides an opportunity for stakeholders to see and use the product regularly.
  • These artifacts serve as the foundation for Scrum's transparency and provide a clear view of the work to be done (Product Backlog), the plan for the current sprint (Sprint Backlog), and the ongoing progress (Increment). Regular inspection of these artifacts during Scrum ceremonies such as Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective helps teams adapt and improve their processes and deliver higher-quality products to customers.

Scrum Values 

Scrum is not just about roles, events, and artifacts but it also emphasizes a set of five core values that guide the behaviour and interactions of individuals and teams within the Scrum framework. These values are essential for creating a collaborative and productive work environment. The five Scrum values are:

1. Commitment

  • Commitment in Scrum refers to the dedication and focus of the Scrum Team (including the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team) to achieve the goals and deliver value. This commitment involves setting clear objectives for each sprint and working diligently to meet them.

2. Courage

  • Courage encourages team members to take risks, speak up, and challenge the status quo. It means having the bravery to tackle difficult problems, admit mistakes, and make necessary changes. In Scrum, courage helps teams address impediments and impediments that hinder progress.

3. Focus

  • Focus is about keeping the team's attention on the most important tasks and goals. It means avoiding distractions and working on the items that contribute the most value to the product. Scrum values a concentrated effort on delivering the highest-priority work items.

4. Openness

  • Openness promotes transparency, communication, and honesty within the team and with stakeholders. It involves sharing information, raising issues, and welcoming feedback. In Scrum, openness helps identify problems early and enables continuous improvement.

5. Respect

  • Respect involves treating individuals with kindness, empathy, and consideration. In Scrum, team members respect each other's skills, opinions, and contributions. This value fosters a collaborative and supportive environment, which is crucial for the success of the Scrum Team.

These values are not just principles to follow; they are intended to be deeply ingrained in the culture of the organisation using Scrum. When teams and individuals embrace these values, they are better equipped to work together effectively, adapt to change, and deliver value to customers. Scrum values are a fundamental aspect of creating a positive and productive work environment in which Scrum can thrive.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Scrum is a powerful and widely adopted framework for agile project management and product development. It offers a structured yet flexible approach to managing complex work, with a focus on collaboration, transparency, and customer value.

While Scrum has its roots in software development, its principles and practices have found applications in a wide range of industries and domains, from marketing to healthcare to education. Its simplicity and focus on delivering value early and frequently make it a valuable approach for organisations seeking to thrive in today's fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape.

However, it's essential to recognize that Scrum is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Its success depends on how well it is tailored to the specific needs and context of an organisation. Organisations considering adopting Scrum should invest in training, coaching, and a commitment to the Scrum values to maximise the benefits of this agile framework.

Implementing a smooth, streamlined Agile workflow could take a lot of planning and strategizing, but with the right mindset, approach and collaborative tools, it doesn’t have to be difficult!  Each team is different, and you might need to experiment with a few approaches and Scrum best practices till you find the one that’s right for you.

In a world where adaptability and responsiveness are paramount, Scrum provides a valuable framework for organisations to deliver high-quality products and services while fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.

Hitesh Umaletiya

Hitesh Umaletiya

Co-founder of Brilworks. As technology futurists, we love helping startups turn their ideas into reality. Our expertise spans startups to SMEs, and we're dedicated to their success.

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