Scrum is the most widely adopted framework for Agile development. It is a lightweight yet incredibly powerful set of values, principles, and practices to successfully deliver complex, innovative products and services that truly delight customers. Though scrum began as a way to develop software, it is currently used in a variety of industries across the globe.
Scrum relies on cross-functional teams to deliver products and services in short cycles, enabling:
- Fast feedback
- Quicker innovation
- Continuous improvement
- Rapid adaptation to change
- More delighted customers
- Accelerated pace from idea to delivery
- The scrum value of commitment is essential for building an agile culture. Scrum teams work together as a unit. This means that scrum and agile teams trust each other to follow through on what they say they are going to do. When team members aren’t sure how work is going, they ask. Agile teams only agree to take on tasks they believe they can complete, so they are careful not to overcommit.
- The Scrum value of courage is critical to an agile team’s success. Scrum teams must feel safe enough to say no, to ask for help, and to try new things. Agile teams must be brave enough to question the status quo when it hampers their ability to succeed.
- The scrum value of focus is one of the best skills scrum teams can develop. Focus means that whatever scrum teams start they finish--so agile teams are relentless about limiting the amount of work in process (limit WIP).
- Scrum teams consistently seek out new ideas and opportunities to learn. Agile teams are also honest when they need help.
- Scrum team members demonstrate respect to one another, to the product owner, to stakeholders, and to the Scrum Master. Agile teams know that their strength lies in how well they collaborate and that everyone has a distinct contribution to make toward completing the work of the sprint. They respect each other’s ideas, give each other permission to have a bad day once in a while, and recognize each other’s accomplishments.
The Scrum Team
Scrum team has three accountabilities (commonly known as roles):
- Developers - On a scrum team, a developer is anyone on the team that is delivering work, including those team members outside of software development.
- Product Owner - Holds the vision for the product and prioritizes the product backlog
- Scrum Master -
Helps the team best use scrum to build the product.
Scrum artifacts help manage the work
- Product Backlog - An emergent, ordered list of what is needed to improve the product and includes the product goal.
- Sprint Backlog - The set of product backlog items selected for the sprint by the developers (team members), plus a plan for delivering the increment and realizing the sprint goal.
- Increment - A sum of usable sprint backlog items completed by the developers in the sprint that meets the definition of done, plus the value of all the increments that came before. Each increment is a recognizable, visibly improved, operating version of the product.
Sprint Burndown Charts
What is a sprint burndown chart? Sprint burndowns are a graphical way of showing how much work is remaining in the sprint, typically in terms of task hours. It is typically updated at the daily scrum meetings. As the sprint progresses, the amount of work remaining should steadily decrease and should trend toward being complete on the last day of the sprint. Burndowns that show increasing work or few completed tasks are signals to the scrum master and the team that the sprint is not going well.
What is the purpose of the sprint burndown chart? Sprint burndown charts help teams gauge whether they will complete the work of a sprint. Burndown charts also reinforce the scrum values of commitment, focus, and openness and one of the three pillars of empirical process control: transparency.
Scrum teams work in sprints, each of which includes several events (or activities). Don't think of these events as meetings or ceremonies; the events that are contained within each sprint are valuable opportunities to inspect and adapt the product or the process (and sometimes both).
- The Sprint - The heartbeat of scrum. Each sprint should bring the product closer to the product goal and is a month or less in length.
- Sprint Planning - The entire scrum team establishes the sprint goal, what can be done, and how the chosen work will be completed. Planning should be timeboxed to a maximum of 8 hours for a month-long sprint, with a shorter timebox for shorter sprints.
- Daily Scrum - The developers (team members delivering the work) inspect the progress toward the sprint goal and adapt the sprint backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work. A daily scrum should be timeboxed to 15 minutes each day.
- Sprint Review - The entire scrum team inspects the sprint's outcome with stakeholders and determines future adaptations. Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the increment.
- Sprint Retrospective - The scrum team inspects how the last sprint went regarding individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and definition of done. The team identifies improvements to make the next sprint more effective and enjoyable. This is the conclusion of the sprint.
- Scrum teams work in short timeframes called sprints. Sprints can be as short as one week or as long as one month. Sprints happen one right after the other, with no breaks, to maintain a steady project cadence.
- Each sprint begins with a plan (sprint planning) and ends with a review of the work completed (sprint review) and an additional look back at the way in which the team worked together (sprint retrospective).
- During each sprint, the entire scrum team works together to complete one or more increments of a larger overall product or project. Each completed increment must be potentially releasable, meaning that it could theoretically be delivered as-is. In other words, each increment must be fully tested and fully approved by the end of the sprint.
Scrum is an agile framework that helps companies meet complex, changing needs while creating high-quality products and services. Scrum works by delivering large projects in small chunks—bite-sized increments that a cross-functional team can begin and complete in one, short timeboxed iteration.
As each product increment is completed, teams review the functionality and then decide what to create next based on what they learned and the feedback they received during the review. These frequent inspect and adapt cycles reduce waste and minimize risk. The teams also inspect their use of scrum, looking for ways to improve. At the end of each timebox, teams begin a new iteration until they deliver the complete product or service, or until what they have released so far fulfills customer needs.