What is Scrum
Date: Friday, November 03 @ 00:16:22 CDT
Topic: PMConnection Articles



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 complete.

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 being completed.

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 this topic, visit Scrum.org






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