Agile Alliance Corporate Member

What is Scrum Methodology?

Scrum is the most widely used practice in Agile software development. Scrum Methodology, pioneered by Jeff Sutherland, has been used to manage product development since early 1990s. JamBuster's SoftALM® and SoftAgile are predominantly based on Scrum Methodology with some Kanban Taskboards, Lean and XP(Extreme Programming) Practices.

Importance of Scrum stems from that it not only recognized that requirements change very often, but more importantly it provided a framework to overcome the traditional approach of having a planned or predictive manner of doing things. During a project the customers can change their minds about what they want and need, and scrum encourages managing these changes in pursuit of creating a useful software.

The Scrum Guide™ - the ultimate scrum authority, defines scrum as follows:

A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.

Scrum is a Lightweight methodology, which is simple to understand yet difficult to master!

The Scrum framework consists of Scrum Teams and their associated artifacts, roles, events, and rules, each of which have been explained below:

  • Scrum Artifacts: Scrum Artifacts are defined so that each Scrum member has the same understanding of the Artifact. Each Artifact used in Scrum is explained below:
    1. Product Backlog: The Product Backlog is an ordered list of items that might be needed in the product and is a single repository of requirements & any changes to be made to the product. The Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog. Product Backlog is refined on a regular basis by the Product Owner and the Development team.

    2. Adding Product backlog to Sprint Backlog
    3. Sprint Backlog: The Sprint Backlog is the set of Product Backlog items selected for the current Sprint, plus a plan for delivering the product Increment. The Sprint Backlog defines all the work that will be done by the Development Team in the current Sprint and only the Development Team can make changes to the Sprint Backlog.

    4. Increment: The Product Increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint and all previous Sprints. At the end of a Sprint, the new Increment must be “Done,” which means it must be in useable condition and meet the Scrum Team’s definition of “Done.” It must be in shippable condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to release it immediately.

    5. Definition of Done: The Definition of Done means the intended work has been completed by the Development Team on the increment. When a product increment is tagged as “Done”, it means that the increment fulfills the items added to the Sprint Backlog and that the increment is potentially shippable.

  • The Scrum Team and their Roles: The Scrum Team consists of the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the Development team (Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members other than Developer, regardless of the work being performed by the person)

    There are 3 key roles in Scrum:

      Product Owner role in Agile
    1. Product Owner: The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog which includes number of activities like: Defining product backlog, prioritizing the product backlog items and ensuring that the development team understands the backlog items well.

    2. Development Team in Agile
    3. Development Team: The Development Team consists of professionals who do the work of delivering a potentially shippable Increment of “Done” product at the end of each Sprint. Development Teams are self-organizing and cross-functional, with all of the skills as a team necessary to create a product Increment. There are no sub-teams and titles. All development team members are equally accountable for developing the product increment.

    4. Scrum Master role in Agile
    5. Scrum Master: The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring Scrum is understood and enacted. Scrum Masters do this by ensuring that the Scrum Team sticks to Scrum theory, practices, and rules. Scrum Master also helps the Product Owner in achieving effective backlog management. Scrum Master can be considered as a facilitator of Scrum practices within the Scrum Team.

  • The Scrum Events: Scrum events are prescribed to maintain discipline and to minimize the need for undefined meetings or events. Scrum events are time-boxed, i.e. they all have a specific time limit to them. All scrum events are explained below, in brief:
      Sprint's lifecycle diagram
    1. The Sprint: Sprint is the heart of Scrum. It is a container for all the events in the Scrum. Sprint occurs in a timeframe of 2 to 4 weeks, at the end of which a potentially shippable or a “Done” increment of the product is released. Sprints contain and consist of events like Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, the development work, the Sprint Review, and the Sprint Retrospective. A shippable product Increment is released at the end of each sprint.

    2. Taskboard can make Sprint Team planning easier
    3. Sprint Planning: The work to be performed in the Sprint is planned at the Sprint Planning. This plan is created by the collaborative work of the entire Scrum Team. The Scrum Master ensures that all the attendees understand its purpose. By the end of it, the Development team needs to explain “How” it intends to achieve the Sprint Goal. The Sprint Planning includes planning for tasks and allocating those tasks to respective team members to achieve the Sprint Goal.

    4. Daily Scrum: The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to coordinate activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. Daily Scrum is a means to check if the Development Team is moving steadily towards achieving the Sprint Goal.

    5. Sprint Review: The Sprint Review meeting is held at the end of each Sprint to inspect the increment of the product and make changes to the Product Backlog, if required. The attendees include the Scrum Master, Development Team, Product Owner and key stakeholders(if any) invited by the Product Owner. It is an informal meeting in which the attendees collaborate on what could be done further to increase value. The result of the Sprint Review meeting is a revised Product Backlog.

    6. Closed Sprint with Retrospective comments
    7. Sprint Retrospective: The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to review itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint. The Sprint Retrospective occurs after the Sprint Review and prior to the next Sprint Planning. The result of this meeting is that the Development Team recognizes the improvements to be done in the next Sprint. The Sprint Retrospective comes from the principle of Continuous Improvement and thus is an important aspect of Scrum.

So, all the above artifacts, roles and events constitute the Scrum methodology. Collaboration and transparent communication are the basis of Scrum, as they are of Agile Methodology.