Scrum Foundations Course – Scrum Artifacts

Scrum Artifacts

Next: Product Backlog

In archaeology, the term “artifact” refers to an object that was made by a human. The Latin roots of the word artifact roughly translate to “Work of Art.” So, an artifact is something that we make, either a tool that solves a problem, or a work of art that inspires us.

Scrum describes three primary artifacts: the Product Backlog, the Sprint Backlog, and the product Increment.

The Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog describe work to be “Done” that will add value, and the product Increment is the “Done” portion of the product completed during a Sprint.

The three Scrum Artifacts share the same goals: maximize transparency, and promote a shared understanding of the work.

The Product Backlog is the ordered list of everything we might want the Development Team to work on related to the product under development. Having a single ordered list makes organizational priorities transparent to all internal stakeholders of the product. A single Product Owner is responsible for the ordering of the Product Backlog, which provides transparency to the organization about the decision-making process used to arrive at the order.

The Product Backlog is a dynamic artifact, meaning that it is constantly evolving based on what is known at a given point in time. The Product Owner collaborates with the Development Team to refine the Product Backlog. Product Backlog refinement is an ongoing activity that can require up to 10% of the Development Team’s time. This dynamic, ongoing, and collaborative refinement of the Product Backlog promotes a shared understanding of the work.

The Sprint Backlog is collaboratively created during Sprint Planning by the Development Team. It is their plan for how they will deliver the Sprint Goal and related Product Backlog items during the current Sprint. It is regularly updated throughout the Sprint as the Development Team learns more. It
is a transparent, real-time picture of all of the work in the current Sprint.

The product Increment is the sum of all Product Backlog items in a given Sprint, plus the value of previous Increments. The product Increment provides an accurate, transparent picture of the state of the product at the end of each Sprint. It helps Scrum Teams realize the Agile principle that “working software is the primary measure of progress” — which can be rephrased as “working product” — is the primary measure of progress for non-software uses of Scrum. Since the product Increment meets the team’s definition of “Done,” it is usable by stakeholders, providing an opportunity for inspection of the current state of the product.

To the extent that Scrum Artifacts are completely transparent and have shared understanding, good decisions can be made through inspecting and adapting. Incomplete transparency can lead to flawed decisions, reduced value delivery, and increased risk. For this reason, the ScrumMaster focuses on increasing transparency of the Scrum Artifacts.