What is Scrum?

Understanding the framework

Scrum is an agile framework that helps teams to work together and deliver value in short intervals. Scrum encourages teams to learn through experience and work collaboratively on complex products and strive for continuous improvement. It emphasizes on the iterative process of software development in a rapidly changing environment.

Why use Scrum?

Although Scrum is most commonly associated with software development teams, its principles can be applied in all other processes involving teamwork.This methodology helps development teams become more agile. It helps teams to discover how to react and respond quickly to sudden changes. Also, Scrum brings transparency in information which addresses the complexity in work. Teams are able to address the problems and chaos that results from constantly changing requirements.

This technique is used in projects where the requirements are constantly changing. The framework deals with the fact that conditions are likely to change quickly or most of the time not known at the start of the project. Changes in customer requirements , optimization of products and processes are an integral part of Scrum methodology.

The 3 different roles :

A scrum team will consist of three vital roles , namely ; the product owner, the scrum master and the development team.

  1. Product owner– The product owner is responsible for managing the product backlog. They have to be focused in the customer requirements, the feedback from the team and the changing market situations and then prioritize the work to be performed by the team.Product owners have to ensure that every team member is clear on the product backlogs and decide on what the team will work on next. Also, the product owner should be an individual person and not a committee as this would ensure that the team receives only one direction.
  2. The Scrum master– The main task of the Scrum master is to help the teams to follow the methodology by helping them understand the scrum policies, practices and values. They also coach the product owners,  scrum teams and organizations on the best scrum practices. Thus,the role of the scrum master is to ensure that everyone adheres to the plans and policies with a clear understanding of what scrum is.
  3. Development teams- These are the self organizing teams which are responsible for getting the work done. The development teams deliver increments of work done at the end of every sprint.The size of a Scrum development team can be best explained by Jeff Bezzos “two pizza rule” which means that the development teams should be small enough to share two pizzas. Small teams may lead to skills constraint while larger teams may create confusion and hamper coordination. Thus,fixing the size of the scrum team is of vital important to ensure smooth flow.

The 5 main Scrum events:

The set of activities that a scrum team performs on a regular basis is known as events. Let’s have a look at these common events:

  1. Organizing the backlog – This is the part  of a product owner’s work where the product owner seeks to drive the product towards product vision. The feedback from the customers and development teams is an important part to prioritize and maintain this list which can be worked upon at any given time.
  2. Sprint planning– This event is the responsibility of the Scrum master. The scrum team plans on the work to be performed and in what duration of time it has to be performed (Sprint). The team decides on the sprint goals in this stage.A small batch of User stories are added to the sprint from the backlog.At the end of the meeting, every team member should have a clarity on the sprint goals.
  3. Sprint– This is the time period where the team is actually working on the sprint goals.The time period for a sprint is completely at the discretion of the organization. A two week sprint is  most commonly used. Dave West, from Scrum.org advises that the more complex the work and the more unknowns, the shorter the sprint should be. 
  4. Daily stand up–  Also called daily scrum is a short meeting usually for a duration of 15 minutes and less. The teams discuss the work that was done yesterday, the work they plan to complete today and if there were any blockers or obstacles.The aim of daily stand up is to ensure that the entire team aligned with the sprint goals and plan for the 24 hours.
  5. Sprint retrospective– A Sprint Retrospective meeting takes place after a Sprint ends. In this session, the team comes together to document and discuss what worked and what didn’t work in a sprint.The idea is to create a place where the team can focus on what went well and what needs to be improved for the next time, and less about what went wrong.

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