What is Scrum? [Definition + How It Works]

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile framework for developing and managing complex projects by encouraging teamwork, communication, and speed. The agile method focuses on interactive and incremental progress toward your final goal.

With the use of the Scrum methodology, you can create a structure that supports teams in complex product development. The aim of Scrum is to encourage development teams to self-organize, collaborate closely, reflect on the outcomes, and improve continuously.

Let’s learn about Scrum with an example.

In simple terms, Scrum is like a game plan used by a development team to work on complex projects seamlessly and effectively. The plan includes the roles of each team member, a series of steps (events) they should follow, and tools (artifacts) they use along the way of development. The rules of the plan help everyone in the team work together smoothly. A Scrum team checks on their progress and further adjusts their plans for development work.

What is the Importance of Scrum?

Here are the 5 benefits of Scrum methodology. Let’s learn about each advantage in detail.

  1. Flexibility and Adaptability: Agile Response to Change

    Scrum enables you to swiftly respond to changes in requirements, market conditions, or customer needs. In fact, Scrum is one of the most popular software development methodologies used by developers to build software products from scratch.

    The iterative nature of the Scrum process helps you to continuously adapt your project, ensuring it can be adjusted and realigned at any stage according to your specific circumstances.

  2. Faster Time-to-market: Iterative Delivery of Valuable Features

    With Scrum, you’ll experience faster product releases through iterative development cycles known as sprints. Because of the sprint concept, you can decide the priority and create functional requirements. By properly executing each sprint, you can deliver valuable features faster and utilize incremental improvement in a short timeframe. This way, you can bring your product to market soon and start reaping its benefits faster.

  3. Improved Product Quality: Continuous Feedback and Quality Assurance

    The Scrum development process places a strong emphasis on regular reviews and feedback loops, resulting in higher product quality. By actively collaborating with stakeholders and end-users, you can immediately address any issues, refine requirements, and deliver a product that meets or exceeds end-users or stakeholders’ expectations. Therefore, you can ensure to have a high-quality end product that satisfies your end-user’s needs.

  4. Transparency and Visibility: Open Communication and Progress Tracking

    With Scrum, you experience enhanced transparency by promoting open communication and providing visibility into your software project’s progress. Through regular meetings and sprint reviews, you can stay informed and make sure all project stakeholders have a clear understanding of the project’s status. By ensuring transparency and visibility, you can encourage trust and alignment among all parties involved.

    Moreover, transparency is one of the important pillars of the Scrum method which is certainly a base of this method. If you are curious to learn the other two Scrum pillars, read our blog post on the three pillars of the Scrum method.

  5. Risk Reduction: Early Issue Detection and Mitigation

    Scrum minimizes risks by helping you identify and address potential errors or issues early in the software development process. The iterative nature of Scrum allows you to continuously evaluate, solve problems, and mitigate risks, reducing the possibility of major lapses. This proactive approach ensures smoother project execution and increases your overall chances of success. Let’s now learn about the process of Scrum development.

How Does Scrum Work?

Below we have discussed the points of how Scrum works and which steps are involved.

  1. Backlog Creation: Create a list of all the tasks that need to be done called the product backlog. The product backlog list contains all the features, improvements, and fixes you want to include in your software project.
  2. Sprint Planning: Select a small set of items from the product backlog to work on in the upcoming sprint, which is a fixed period of time (usually 1-4 weeks). You decide how much work you can handle based on the capacity of the scrum teams.
  3. Daily Work: Each day during the sprint, your scrum team holds a short meeting called a daily stand-up. Discuss what you did yesterday, what you plan to do today, and if there are any obstacles in your way. By conducting daily work meetings, you help everyone stay on track and coordinate their efforts.
  4. Incremental Development: Start working on the items you selected for the sprint. Break down the work into smaller tasks and assign them to your Agile Scrum team members. Everyone collaborates to complete their tasks, and at the end of each day, get updates from the team on the project’s progress.
  5. Sprint Review: At the end of the sprint, you review the work you’ve completed with stakeholders, such as clients or product owners. You showcase the features and gather feedback to ensure you are meeting the decided expectations. Read this definition post to learn about the sprint review concept.
  6. Sprint Retrospective: After the sprint review, your team holds a retrospective meeting. You reflect on the sprint and discuss what went well, what could be improved, and any lessons learned. This helps you continuously adapt and refine your process.
  7. Next Sprint Planning: Armed with feedback and insights, you start the next sprint planning. You review the product backlog, update priorities if required, and select a new set of items to work on for the next sprint.
  8. Repeating the Cycle: Continue this cycle of sprints, daily work, sprint reviews, and retrospectives until you have completed all the items in the product backlog. Each sprint adds value to your project and brings you closer to your goals.

What are the Scrum Events?

Here is the information on the Scrum events that you should know.

  1. Sprint Planning: Decide what work to complete in the upcoming sprint, collaborate with the team to select items and define the sprint goal.
  2. Daily Stand-up: Every day during the sprint, you have a short meeting to provide updates on your progress, plans, and any obstacles.
  3. Sprint Review: At the end of the sprint, you present the completed work to stakeholders and gather feedback.
  4. Sprint Retrospective: After the sprint review, you reflect on the sprint, discussing what went well, what could be improved, and identifying actionable steps for enhancement.
  5. Product Backlog Refinement: Continuously refine and clarify backlog items with the scrum team to ensure they are ready for future sprints.

What are Artifacts in the Scrum Methodology?

Here are the three artifacts of the Scrum method which you should be aware of.

  1. Product Backlog: The product backlog is a dynamic and prioritized list of all the desired features, enhancements, and requirements for the product. It represents the work to be done and is continuously refined and updated by the product owner based on stakeholder input and evolving needs.
  2. Sprint Backlog: The sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog. It consists of the specific items selected for a particular sprint. During the sprint planning event, the development team collaborates with the product owner to determine which product backlog items they commit to completing during the sprint.
  3. Increment: The increment is the sum of all the completed product backlog items at the end of a sprint. It represents the tangible and potentially releasable output of the team’s work during the sprint. Each increment builds upon previous increments and should meet the definition of “done” as agreed upon by the Scrum team.

Who are the Members of a Scrum Development Team?

Here are the three core members of a Scrum team. Basically, the Scrum team consists of the product owner, the development team, and the Scrum master.

  1. Product Owner: The product owner represents the stakeholders, customers, and users. They are responsible for maximizing the value of the product and ensuring that the product backlog is transparent, well-ordered, and understood by the development team.
  2. Development Team: A development team is a self-organizing group of professionals who actually do the work of delivering a potentially releasable product increment. They possess the necessary skills and expertise to design, develop, test, and deliver the product increment.
  3. Scrum Master: The Scrum master is responsible for promoting and supporting the Scrum framework. They serve as a servant-leader for the Scrum team, helping them understand and implement Scrum principles and practices. The Scrum master facilitates the team’s progress, removes any impediments, and ensures that Scrum events occur as intended.

In conclusion, the Scrum development process helps you to complete complex software products within the decided timelines. The Scrum method consists of events, artifacts, values, and roles that help to accomplish your end goal. Moreover, the Scrum teams consist of the development team, product owner, and Scrum master helps to move your project swiftly. During the development, if there are any changes, the project requirements and issues can be addressed without any major setbacks. However, to achieve the desired results in Scrum, it is important to follow the defined process and steps.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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