Starting your Scrum journey involves viewing it as a collaborative approach to team-based work, where tasks are tackled incrementally and continuously refined through experimentation and feedback loops. By embracing Scrum, you enable your team to deliver value in manageable portions, fostering a culture of collaboration and adaptability. This agile framework strikes a balance by providing a suitable level of structure that can be seamlessly integrated into your existing workflow while incorporating practices tailored to meet your team’s unique requirements.
What Is Scrum?
Scrum, drawing its name from rugby, is an agile project management framework that empowers teams with a structured approach to handling their tasks, guided by a set of values, principles, and practices. The essence of Scrum lies in its emphasis on experiential learning, encouraging teams to self-organise while tackling challenges and regularly reflecting on their successes and setbacks to foster continuous improvement.
Although prominently utilised by software development teams, the versatility of Scrum allows its principles and insights to be applied effectively to various types of teamwork, making it widely embraced. Often recognised as an agile project management methodology, Scrum encompasses a range of coordinated meetings, tools, and roles that synergize to streamline and oversee the team’s work effectively.
What Is Professional Scrum?
Achieving true effectiveness with Scrum demands more than merely adhering to the mechanics and fundamental guidelines of the framework. It is not uncommon for Scrum Teams to unintentionally lapse into a routine of merely going through the motions.
To truly excel, a shift in mindset regarding work methodologies and thinking patterns is essential, along with cultivating a supportive environment that fosters trust. Embracing the core Scrum Values is equally crucial in this pursuit. This comprehensive approach to Scrum is often referred to as “Professional Scrum,” signifying a level of mastery that goes beyond the surface-level implementation.
What is the Relationship Between Scrum and Agile?
Agile serves as both a development and project planning approach, encompassing a comprehensive philosophy or framework that underlies various methodologies, as outlined in the Agile Manifesto. Among the several Agile methodologies, Scrum stands out as a practical implementation of Agile principles. Like Agile, Scrum revolves around a set of values and principles. Development teams incorporate Scrum into their Agile strategy to add a layer of specificity to their processes.
One core principle of Agile development involves regular discussions among team members on improving their effectiveness and subsequently adjusting their behaviour accordingly. Scrum facilitates this by incorporating a formal process, such as daily meetings, where teams reflect on their upcoming tasks within the next 24 hours and adapt their approach based on anticipated or encountered obstacles.
Another fundamental Agile principle emphasises the value of self-directed teams in producing exceptional work. In this context, Scrum Masters play a crucial role in enabling this autonomy. They provide teams with the necessary resources and independence to chart their own course. Operating as servant leaders, Scrum Masters coach teams to solve problems, achieve goals, and address conflicts effectively. By fostering a supportive environment, Scrum Masters help teams reach their full potential within the Agile framework.
How Does Scrum Work?
Scrum, though easy to grasp at its core, presents a challenge when striving for mastery. The co-creators of Scrum, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, have elucidated the fundamental concepts in The Scrum Guide, offering a comprehensive understanding of Scrum processes and their optimal implementation.
At the heart of Scrum lies the notion of a self-organising team working diligently to deliver customer value within a time-boxed interval referred to as a Sprint. Scrum meticulously defines various aspects, including artefacts, roles, and events, all interwoven with each Sprint. Let us now delve into a detailed exploration of each of these elements.
What Are Scrum Artifacts?
In the world of Scrum, teams leverage essential tools known as Scrum artefacts to tackle challenges and efficiently manage projects. These artefacts play a pivotal role in delivering crucial planning and task-related information to both team members and stakeholders. Three primary Scrum artefacts stand at the core of this framework:
The Product Backlog represents a dynamic and ever-evolving compilation of features, requirements, enhancements, and fixes necessary for the success of the project. Essentially serving as the team’s comprehensive to-do list, it undergoes continuous revisiting and reprioritization to accommodate market shifts. The responsibility for maintaining and updating this list falls on the Product Owner, who diligently removes irrelevant items and incorporates new customer requests to keep the backlog relevant and aligned with project objectives.
Click here to learn more about how to create product backlog items, including deep dives into the world of creating epics, user stories and personas.
The Sprint Backlog represents the specific set of items that the development team commits to completing during the ongoing Sprint cycle. As the Sprint commences, the team selects these items from the Product Backlog, determining the scope of their work for that particular iteration. While the Sprint Backlog provides a clear focus for the team’s efforts, it remains adaptable, capable of evolving and accommodating changes throughout the duration of the Sprint.
The Increment represents a tangible advancement towards a goal or vision, signifying the usable end product obtained from a Sprint. While teams have the flexibility to adopt various approaches to define and demonstrate their Sprint Goals, the fundamental essence of the Sprint Goal—what the team aspires to achieve within the current Sprint—remains non-negotiable.
For instance, some teams opt to release a deliverable to their customers by the end of the Sprint, thus completing their Sprint Goal once the software change is made available. Conversely, other teams may focus on accomplishing a specific set of features that are intended for simultaneous release. In such a scenario, the Sprint Goal would be considered achieved once the feature set passes successful testing. Regardless of the specific approach, preserving the integrity of the Sprint Goal remains paramount.
What are Scrum Roles?
A Scrum Team consists of three distinct roles: the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. Each role plays a crucial part in the successful implementation of the Scrum framework.
The Product Owner assumes a vital role in maximising business value delivered by the development team. Their primary focus lies in comprehending and prioritising the evolving needs of end-users and customers. To achieve this, effective Product Owners undertake the following responsibilities:
- Provide the development team with clear and precise guidance on the features that should be prioritised for delivery.
- Act as the liaison between the business’s objectives and the team’s understanding, bridging any gaps that may arise.
- Make decisions regarding the timing and frequency of releases to ensure a well-coordinated and efficient delivery process.
Scrum Masters take on the role of being strong advocates for Scrum within their teams. They bear the responsibility of ensuring the effectiveness of the Scrum Team. By coaching teams, Product Owners, and the business, they actively strive to enhance Scrum processes and optimise project delivery. The key responsibilities of Scrum Masters encompass:
- Scheduling the necessary resources required for each Sprint to proceed smoothly.
- Facilitating various Sprint events and team meetings to ensure seamless collaboration and progress.
- Leading the team’s digital transformation journey, adapting to new technologies and advancements.
- Facilitating team training sessions whenever there is a need to adopt new tools or methodologies.
- Communicating and coordinating with external groups to address challenges that impact the team as a whole, fostering a cohesive and problem-solving environment.
Scrum Dev Team
The Scrum Team comprises a diverse group of professionals, including testers, designers, UX specialists, Ops engineers, and developers. With each member possessing unique skill sets, they actively engage in cross-training to ensure a smooth workflow without creating bottlenecks in the delivery of work. Following Jeff Bezos’ recommendation of the two-pizza rule for determining team size, Scrum Teams are deliberately kept small enough that they can be fed by only two pizzas.
Scrum development teams collaboratively work together to ensure the successful completion of Sprints. They advocate sustainable development practices and embrace a self-organising approach, fostering a collective “we” attitude when tackling projects. Additionally, the team takes ownership of planning and estimating the amount of work they can realistically complete during each Sprint, taking full responsibility for their commitments.
What are Scrum Events?
Scrum events, also known as Scrum ceremonies, encompass a series of scheduled meetings that Scrum Teams routinely conduct. These events play a pivotal role in ensuring effective collaboration and progress. Several essential Scrum events include:
During this event, the Scrum Team collectively estimates the work that needs to be accomplished in the upcoming Sprint. Together, they define clear and concise Sprint Goals, ensuring they are specific, measurable, and achievable. By the conclusion of the planning meeting, each member gains a comprehensive understanding of how to deliver every Increment within the Sprint effectively.
A Sprint refers to the specific time frame during which the Scrum Team collaborates to complete an Increment. While the standard duration for a Sprint is typically two weeks, this length can be adjusted based on the project’s requirements and the team’s dynamics. In situations where the work is intricate and entails numerous uncertainties, it is advisable to opt for shorter Sprints to enhance adaptability and responsiveness.
Daily Scrum or Stand-up
The Daily Scrum is a brief meeting where team members gather to synchronise and plan their day’s activities. They provide updates on the work accomplished and share any obstacles they are facing in achieving the Sprint Goals. The term “stand-up” reflects the meeting’s intention to be succinct, similar to when everyone remains standing to maintain a focused and time-efficient session.
Upon reaching the end of the Sprint, the team conducts an informal session to conduct a comprehensive review of the completed work and present it to stakeholders. During this review, the Product Owner may opt to revise the Product Backlog based on the outcomes and insights gained from the current Sprint.
Sprint Retrospective (Retro)
The team collaborates to document and openly discuss their observations regarding what aspects were successful and what didn’t work as expected during the Sprint. These valuable insights and ideas generated in the retrospective session are then utilised to enhance and refine future Sprints, fostering continuous improvement within the team.
Why Should You Use Scrum?
Scrum has proven to be effective across various team domains, including HR, marketing, and design. However, its widespread adoption is more prevalent in software development and engineering teams. This approach empowers teams to swiftly adapt to changing requirements while maintaining control over costs and budgets. The significance of Scrum stems from the following reasons:
The Scrum framework inherently incorporates quality assurance checks. At the outset of each Sprint, teams define clear requirements, thoroughly evaluating the software or product life cycle while establishing a shared vision of completion. This approach ensures that requirements remain relevant and feasible within the given time frame. With regular feedback from the Product Owner and Sprint reviews, teams embrace a culture of continuous improvement throughout the project, fostering efficiency and excellence.
Scrum Teams possess the autonomy to select their own metrics for evaluating project performance. Drawing upon their expertise and capabilities, they estimate timelines, budgets, and quality metrics to effectively guide their work. The Product Owner maintains control over these estimates as they are relative in nature, allowing for adaptability as the project progresses. Consequently, teams receive additional support during the project’s initial phases and naturally increase their pace as they gain momentum. Regular review of working products by project stakeholders and the provision of feedback ensure that the project remains aligned with its objectives and stays on course.
In Scrum, teams prioritise requirements by assessing customer value and conducting risk analysis. The primary emphasis lies in developing a functional and deployable product that can be released to the market early on, enabling the collection of valuable customer feedback. This approach in Scrum development results in reduced costly defects, enhanced team efficiency, and a fail-fast mentality, which ultimately leads to significant cost savings in the long term.
The presence of self-managed and self-organised team structures fosters an environment that encourages creativity and innovation among members. This arrangement grants individuals the freedom to structure their work in alignment with their unique work styles, personalities, and personal life aspirations. Additionally, the cross-functional nature of the teams facilitates skill-sharing and mutual mentorship, enabling continuous learning and growth. Ultimately, Scrum cultivates an atmosphere of support and trust, significantly enhancing overall motivation and morale among team members.
Using Scrum For Marketing
Scrum serves as a highly effective tool for teams of all sizes and finds valuable applications across diverse industries. For creative teams, adopting the Scrum methodology can prove particularly beneficial, offering advantages such as enhanced prioritisation, improved clarity, fostered innovation, and elevated output quality.
Improves Work Prioritization
Scrum proves to be a valuable asset for marketing teams, as it instils a strong focus on high-impact activities and empowers them to prioritise their workload effectively. By breaking down complex projects into smaller, achievable goals, Scrum offers an iterative approach that allows for greater flexibility.
For instance, when planning a sprint, marketing teams can identify and prioritise the most impactful activities, such as content creation, campaign running, and testing novel marketing strategies. Continually evaluating progress through the sprint planning process enables the team to make necessary adjustments, ensuring the execution of activities that will greatly impact the project’s success in an efficient manner.
Identifies Clear Deliverables
The success of a creative project hinges on the team’s cohesion and concerted effort towards a shared goal. Scrum plays a crucial role in establishing clarity regarding the outcomes the team must deliver in each sprint, ensuring a unified approach to their endeavours. During sprint planning, teams are encouraged to identify concrete and measurable results from their work, facilitating the determination of essential tasks and their respective timelines.
By doing so, the team can concentrate their efforts on accomplishing what is necessary to achieve the desired results, promoting accountability and minimising wasted effort. Additionally, Scrum fosters alignment among team members concerning the project’s goals and the envisioned timeline for its completion, ensuring everyone is on the same page throughout the creative endeavour.
Promotes Feedback Gathering
Interacting with your audience is a fundamental key to achieving marketing success. The more engagement you have with your audience, the deeper your understanding of their needs, desires, and preferences, enabling you to develop strategies that truly resonate with them. This is precisely why Scrum proves to be an exceptional tool for marketing teams. It empowers them to swiftly adapt to changes and continuously refine their work, staying agile in a rapidly evolving landscape.
As marketing teams actively engage with customers, they gather valuable insights into their journey, allowing them to refine their messaging and marketing strategies accordingly. With each iteration, they accumulate a wealth of knowledge about the customer, enabling them to build on their successes. Moreover, the insights gained from customer interactions serve as a basis for refining messaging and identifying untapped opportunities. Each project becomes a learning experience that enables the team to build upon the lessons learned from previous endeavours.
Scrum’s iterative process empowers marketing teams to leverage customer feedback, refine their strategies, and continuously improve their work. This adaptability keeps them ahead of the competition and aligned with ever-evolving customer needs. The ability to swiftly respond to changes and customer feedback enables marketing teams to remain at the top of their game, effectively delivering marketing initiatives that deeply resonate with their audience.
Allows For Innovation
In Scrum, two powerful tools assist the team in identifying tasks aligned with the project goals: user stories and Scrum epics. User stories are concise descriptions of features from the user’s perspective, usually beginning with “As a user, I want…”. They outline the specific features and functions needed for users to accomplish their tasks. For instance, a user story in the context of an e-commerce website might state, “As a user, I want to be able to search for products by category.” On the other hand, Scrum epics provide more comprehensive and detailed descriptions of features or functions, offering a broader view of the project’s scope.
Utilizing user stories and epics within Scrum encourages team members to think creatively and explore innovative solutions to achieve their project goals. By identifying results rather than tasks beforehand, the team gains the freedom to approach challenges with ingenuity and devise creative strategies to accomplish their objectives. These user stories and epics offer clear insights into the tasks at hand, guiding the team while allowing space for inventive problem-solving and fulfilling the project’s requirements effectively.
How Do I Use Scrum In My Team?
1. Identify Goals And Objectives
Implementing Scrum as a project management framework can significantly enhance productivity and yield superior outcomes. The initial step in this process entails setting clear and defined goals and objectives, which serve as a roadmap for the project and facilitate progress tracking and success measurement.
When setting goals, it is crucial to ensure they are realistic and attainable, while objectives should be actionable and measurable. For instance, consider a project with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction. In this scenario, one goal could be to enhance customer reviews by 10% within three months, achieved through targeted online campaigns.
Having well-defined goals and objectives empowers teams to prioritise tasks effectively and structure sprints in a manner that optimises progress towards the desired outcomes. By aligning efforts with these goals and objectives, projects can be steered toward success with greater efficiency and clarity.
2. Create Epics And User Stories
Epics represent large-scale tasks that can be further subdivided into smaller, manageable user stories. For instance, consider an epic to create a website, where user stories may involve tasks like enabling users to navigate the home page or facilitating inquiries through a contact form. Each user story can then be further broken down into smaller tasks assigned to team members. When crafting epics, it is essential to maintain a broad and easily comprehensible scope.
User stories, on the other hand, require careful attention to detail, encompassing all the necessary elements and tasks to complete the story successfully. Clear acceptance criteria must also be defined, specifying the conditions that must be met for the user story to be considered complete. By following these steps diligently, teams can ensure effective and efficient utilisation of Scrum principles in their project management, ultimately leading to successful outcomes.
3. Plan Your Sprints
Sprints represent time-boxed work sessions, typically spanning 2-4 weeks. The chosen sprint length directly influences the deliverables that can be accomplished within that designated period. Often referred to as the heartbeat of Scrum, sprints are driven by specific goals that enable the Scrum team to incrementally achieve the project’s overall objective. When strategizing the priority of user stories, consider your goals and objectives, and commence with the most impactful activities first. By effectively planning your sprints, your team can concentrate their efforts on addressing specific challenges and yield favourable outcomes.
4. Stand Up!
Daily standups are brief meetings conducted each morning, involving all team members. Their purpose is to update everyone on the project’s progress and address any encountered issues or blockers. In a daily standup, each team member shares information about their previous day’s tasks, their plans for the current day, and any challenges they may be facing.
These standups can be conducted either in person or through virtual platforms. It is crucial to keep the meeting concise and focused to avoid unproductive time-wasting. Daily standups play a vital role in keeping the project on track, fostering collaboration among team members, and ensuring everyone remains motivated and focused. By leveraging these daily meetings, teams can ensure timely project completion while maintaining high standards of work.
5. Conduct Retros
Evaluating sprints and conducting retrospectives prove invaluable in gaining insights into what is effective and what needs improvement, ultimately leading to more successful project outcomes. After each sprint, convene your stakeholders to review the accomplished work and assess how well it aligned with the sprint goal and project objectives. Collaboratively identify any challenges and brainstorm potential solutions. By actively reviewing sprints, teams can enhance efficiency and refine their approach to achieve better results in subsequent sprints.
Retrospective meetings hold equal significance in the Scrum process. During these sessions, team members reflect on the sprint’s performance, assessing what aspects worked well and what areas require improvement in terms of their collaboration dynamics. These reflections allow team members to gain a deeper understanding of their team’s dynamics and pinpoint areas where focused efforts are necessary for future success.
6. Track Progress
A scrum board, also known as a task board, serves as a visual representation of the tasks required for project completion. Scrum board examples can be found in both physical and virtual formats, with Workamajig providing the option to create and share virtual scrum boards effortlessly with relevant stakeholders.
The board, whether physical or virtual, consists of distinct columns, each representing a different stage in the project’s workflow. For instance, the initial column might be labelled “To Do,” while the subsequent one could be titled “In Progress.” As the project advances, tasks are moved across columns accordingly. This approach effectively keeps the entire team updated on the project’s progress, fostering clear communication and collaboration.
Once the scrum board is set up, tasks are assigned to team members, and the board is consistently updated to reflect the current status of each task. While this can be managed manually, utilising software like Workamajig streamlines the process, particularly for creative teams. It is of utmost importance to keep the board up-to-date, ensuring that all team members are aware of which tasks are actively in progress and which are yet to be completed.
Web Development Scrum Example
A company’s website plays a crucial role in its digital presence, shaping the overall impression it leaves on visitors while serving as a platform to showcase products, services, and more. Therefore, ensuring the website is user-friendly, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing is of paramount importance. By employing Scrum in web development, you can effectively align your efforts to achieve these goals. Tasks such as user interface design, coding, and content creation can be methodically broken down and managed in an organised and efficient manner through Scrum.
Furthermore, Scrum can significantly contribute to enhancing the customer experience. As your team interacts with customers, they gather valuable insights into their journey, allowing for deeper understanding and empathetic consideration of their needs. With each iteration, your team learns more about the customer base and builds upon successful strategies to improve the overall customer experience.
Incorporating Scrum in web development empowers your team to optimise the website’s design, usability, and functionality while delivering a seamless customer experience that fosters loyalty and satisfaction.
What is a Scrum in Agile?
Scrum, as a team-based project management approach, is in alignment with the principles of the Agile Manifesto. The Agile Manifesto succinctly represents the essential values of agile project management. It emphasises the idea of discovering improved methods of software development through hands-on experience and sharing that knowledge to facilitate progress within the community.
What’s The Difference Between Agile and Scrum?
Agile in software development refers to a mindset or approach that fosters a culture of continuous improvement and customer-centric value delivery within an organisation. It encourages every team member to align their efforts towards these goals. Scrum, on the other hand, is a specific framework used within the agile philosophy to facilitate project execution, incorporating all the core principles of agile to define its methods.
It’s essential to recognise that while Scrum is one of the frameworks within the agile approach, agile itself encompasses various methodologies that also embrace the agile principles for project management. In essence, agile is a broader concept, and Scrum is just one of the many ways organisations can implement an agile approach to their projects.
What is the 3-5-3 in Scrum?
Scrum’s structure revolves around three roles, five phases, and three artefacts.
What Does Scrum Stand For?
Scrum is not an acronym; rather, it draws its inspiration from the scrum formation in the sport of rugby.
What are the Three Roles of Scrum?
A Scrum team comprises three essential roles: the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, and the Development Team.
What are the Five Phases of Scrum?
The Scrum process involves five distinct phases:
- Planning and Estimation
What are the Three Artifacts of Scrum?
Scrum encompasses three primary artefacts, namely:
- Product Backlog
- Sprint Backlog
Agile Project Management and its Scrum framework present a transformative approach to project execution. By embracing adaptability, collaboration, and continuous improvement, teams can achieve remarkable outcomes in today’s fast-paced business landscape. Embrace Agile methodologies, empower your teams, and watch your projects soar to new heights of success. Remember, the journey towards Agile excellence is ongoing, so stay committed, iterate, and evolve with every project. Here’s to a future filled with innovation, efficiency, and remarkable achievements.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, we’d recommend diving into the following other posts in this Agile series:
- An Introduction to The Agile Methodology
- Themes, Epics and User Stories – The Core Components Of Agile
- Embracing Agile Team Dynamics
- What is SAFe Agile and Why Should I Use It?
- What is Waterfall Development?
- What is Lean Development?
- What is Scrum?
- A Deep Dive Into Epics
- Exploring The Power of User Stories
- How Can I Use Personas?
- Decoding Agile Estimation (Story Pointing)
- Agile Transformation: How Can My Business Start Using Agile?
- The Spotify Approach To Agile Development
- What Is Agile Portfolio Management?
- Agile Glossary
- Agile Statistics