Scrum is a management and control process that cuts through complexity to focus on building products that meet business needs. It is also one of the most rigid Agile appraoch in terms of
recommended practices and procedures. Scrum
is an implementation of Agile. The process involves performing just enough
planning to get started, creating the minimal feature set. Then we build
what was planned, then it is tested and reviewed. Once this cycle is
complete, we end up with a Potentially Shippable Product. This process
usually occurs over a time period of one to three weeks. This process of
Plan, Build, Test and Review is known as a Sprint. Depending upon what is
being built, it may take multiple Sprints before a Shippable Product is
In Scrum, there are three key roles needed in order for the
framework to work well. The Product Owner is responsible for defining the
Features that are needed in the product. The Scrum Master is a servant
leader to the team. Their responsibility is to protect the team and the
process, running the meetings and keeping things progressing forward. The
Team is the third role. It can be made up of Developers, Testers, and
anyone else who helps in building the product. Team members often play
multiple roles. For instance, sometimes Developers may end up doing some
testing or Testers may perform some form of development. Either way the
team works collaboratively to get the product done.
There are three artifacts or documents used for Scrum.
First is the Product Backlog. This is where the Product Owner keeps
a list of all the User Stories and then works to prioritize that list.
This list evolves and priorities may change at every sprint. User
Stories are a way of describing a feature set. A User Story follows the
format of "As a _______, I need _______, So that ______." format.
By phrasing the User Story in this way, this allows the Product Owner to
specify the right amount of detail for the team to estimate the size of the
task. The highest priority User Stories go into the Sprint Backlog. These
are estimated for size and are committed to for the next sprint. Burn
down charts show the progress during a sprint of the completion of tasks in the
sprint backlog. This chart should approach zero points as the work is
There are three ceremonies that make up Scrum. Think
of these as meetings or discussions. Sprint Planning is where the Product
Owner, Scrum Master and Team meet to discuss the User Stories and estimate
their relative sizes. The Daily Scrum is a brief stand-up meeting where
the team discusses what they completed since the previous meeting, what they
are working on and anything that might be blocked or need help. The
Sprint Review and retrospective occurs at the end of the Sprint. This is
where the team demonstrates the completed work to the Product Owner. The
team also discusses what they can do to improve the process going forward.
The Scrum workflow looks like Backlog to Sprint Planning to
Sprint Backlog and then into the Sprint. The Sprint is a one to three
week time-box where the User Stores committed to during the Sprint Backlog are
worked through to completion. During the Sprint, the Daily Stand-up
occurs. The outcome of the Sprint is a potentially shippable product.
The Product Owner makes the decision if it can ship or if more features
are needed. Finally, at the end of the Sprint, the Sprint Review and
Retrospective occurs. This workflow is repeated for each Sprint until all
features for the product are complete.
For more information on Scrum, visit this link.
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