Scrum in an Nutshell

Scrum in an Nutshell

Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products.

It all starts out with our stakeholders that have an idea about a product they want to develop. In Scrum, the Product Owner in empowered by the organization to manage the competing needs of the stakeholders and take in their ideas, requirements, and features and prioritize and order them in a list known as the Product Backlog.

From here, the product owner works closely with the Scrum Development Team, a self-organizing and cross functional team that has all of the necessary skills to take an idea or concept from the product backlog and convert it into a product increment. The Product Increment is a quality working product that is reviewed regularly by the stakeholders and based on their feedback, the product owner then updates and reorders the product backlog items for the next iterations.

These iterations are known as Sprints. Sprints are timeboxed to 1 month or less and most teams today run 2 week Sprints.

At the beginning of each Sprint, the product owner and the scrum development team have a Sprint Planning meeting where they determine the goal for the Sprint and the high priority items from the product backlog that will help them accomplish this goal. The development team then tasks out their work and creates a Sprint Backlog which describes the team’s plan to accomplish the work. From this point on the team works off of the Sprint backlog, collaborating together to get things from not done to done as quickly and effectively as possible.

To ensure that they are making forward progress towards the Sprint goal, the Scrum development team has short daily planning meetings known as Daily Scrums. Work on the Sprint backlog continues until the Sprint timebox is over.

At the end of the Sprint, the team delivers a potentially shippable Product Increment that meets the team’s Definition of Done and brings them closer to towards the overall product vision.

In the Sprint Review, the product owner and Scrum development team ask the stakeholders for feedback on the product increment and the next items in the product backlog. Based on the feedback, the product owner then re-orders the product backlog for future sprints. This ensures that for each Sprint, the scrum development team is always working on the most valuable items and are regularly delivering value to the stakeholder in an iterative and incremental fashion.

In addition, to inspecting and adapting on the product increment in the Sprint review, the Scrum team has a Sprint Retrospective where they inspect and adapt on the process. The team takes on actions from the retrospective and adds them to the next Sprint’s backlog. So, in addition to developing the product increment, the team works on continuous improvement initiatives to continuously improve their processes.

Also, throughout the sprint, the product owner and the development team do Product Backlog Refinement where they progressively elaborate on the requirements in the product backlog breaking up larger product backlog items into smaller, clearer and more refined items. This is an ongoing activity that happens throughout the Sprint to ensure that the top of the product backlog is in good shape and consists of actionable product backlog items ready to be taken on in the next Sprint.

Last, but not least, throughout this entire process, there is a ScrumMaster who is a servant leader, serving the broader organization, the product owner, and the development team in achieving their overall goals and objectives and helping everyone continuously improve and become more effective. The three roles together are known as the Scrum team.

And that is Scrum as described by it’s 5 events, 3 artifacts, and 3 roles. The events are the Sprint itself, the Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. The 3 artifacts are the Product Backlog, the Sprint Backlog, and the Product Increment. The Scrum Team consist of the 3 roles: the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the Scrum Development Team.

For more details, check out the free online Scrum Foundations course or sign up for an upcoming foundational ScrumMaster® (CSM®) class or a Certified Product Owner® (CSPO®) class.