Before we head unto what scrum is, you can always go back to read “WHY AGILE” and maybe then, you would understand what is really being discussed. There are many Agile methodologies in project management and scrum is one of them and the most widely used.
Now, let us go forward by knowing what scrum is in agile and why it is widely used and why it is beneficial to you and your organization.
FRAMEWORK OF SCRUM
The Scrum framework is heuristic meaning, it is based on continuous learning and modification to fluctuating elements. It acknowledges the fact that the team doesn’t know everything at the start of a project and will get to know better as well as evolving gradually through experience.
People frequently assume Scrum and agile are an identical item because Scrum is targeted round continuous improvement, which is a core principle of agile. However, Scrum is actually a framework that id used to get a work/job done while agile is a mindset. You can’t “go agile”, as it would take the dedication from the entire team to change the way they think about providing the best value to clients. But, using a framework like scrum, it will help shapen the way you think and that will help you inject agile principles into your everyday communication and work.
Scrum is structured but very flexible in its application. Its utility & execution can be customized according to the needs of any company.
The Scrum framework consists of some very important features and each of these features serve a specific purpose and they are all very essential to Scrum’s success and usage. We would take our time in discussing them bit by bit. They are as follows:
There are three leading roles in the Scrum framework. And no matter what your job title is, you get to play any of those roles. These roles include the Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Development Team. People who fill in these roles have to work together to ensure there is a certain level of communication and a quick resolve on issues among team members. Every role here has a definite set of tasks and the successful completion of a project solely depends on how everybody collaborates with themselves.
The product owner also known as the PO is a person who represents the stakeholders and customer. He defines how the product would look like and what feature it should entail. He is generally known as the person who is the interface between the project, the project related needs, the client(s) and the development team. There should be one product owner per team.
- The product owner defines the product in user-centric terms (usually called user stories).
- A Product Owner adds these user stories to the product backlog (which is the repository for all of this information) and also take his time in maintaining it. Keeping it updated at the kind of level and detail the team needs.
- A Product owner prioritizes these backlog based on the level of importance.
Responsibilities of a Product Owner
- The product owner should never dictate how the team reaches a technical solution, but rather will seek consensus among the team members. This role is crucial and requires a deep understanding of both sides: the business and the engineers (developers) in the scrum team. .
- Communication is a core responsibility of the product owner. The ability to convey priorities and empathize with team members and stakeholders is vital to steer product development in the right direction.
- The Product Owner also sets the schedule for releasing completed work to customers, and makes the final call as to whether implementations have the features and quality required for release..
- The Product Owner is ultimately accountable for managing the product backlog and accepting completed increments of work.
- The Product Owner uses Scrum’s empirical tools to manage highly complex work, while controlling risk and achieving value.
A Scrum Master is the keeper of the scrum process. They train their teams, product owners, and the project/business on the scrum system, and look for approaches to fine-tune their use and practice of it. The Scrum grasp is responsible for making the project process run easily, removing impediments that affects productivity and capability of the team to supply the product goals and deliverables, and for organizing and facilitating the crucial meetings the team might have. The Scrum Master protects the team by doing anything possible to help the team perform at the highest level.
Responsibilities of a Scrum Master
- A scrum master assists the product owner in maintaining the product backlog in a manner in which it’s understood by the team members so that can continuously make progress.
- A scrum master improves the lives of the development team by facilitating creativity, productivity and empowerment in any way possible.
- The scrum master facilitates to makes sure that the team follows the agreed strategies within the Scrum framework, often facilitating key sessions while encouraging the team to improve.
- A scrum master schedules the necessary resources for sprint planning meetings, stand-up meetings, sprint review meetings, and the sprint retrospective meetings.
- The scrum master helps individuals and clients have more of an empirical and lean thinking, leaving behind spaces for certainty and predictability.
A development team is a cross-functional group of people that have everything, and everyone, vital to produce an operating, examined increment of product. Dedicate these human beings to the team, and by and large, do no longer circulate them between or across groups as needs ebb and drift. A development team can also be defined as a one-extensive team that can take up any job role, task or deadline and accomplish the impossible through systematic planning, approach and strategies.
A development team is made up of about 5-11 persons who outline, construct, take a look at, and supply an increment of cost in a short time field. Due to the fact communication quality diminishes as crew size increases, Agile firms have a tendency to prefer collections of smaller groups.
These team also prioritizes the items from the Product Backlog that would be delivered and committed to. The team is in charge of delivering the project to the client/customer.
Responsibilities of the Development Team
- The development team decides on how best to accomplish the work set by the Product owner.
- Development teams are established and empowered to organize and manage their own work.
Characteristics of the Development team:
- Development teams are always self-organized. No one, not even the scrum master can tell the development team on how to turn increments into probable releasable functionality.
- Development teams are go-getters. They have all the abilities as a team vital to create the necessary product Increment
- Individual development team members may also have specialized talents and areas of focus, however liability belongs to the development team as a whole.
Software program development is so complex that it doesn’t work so well. The Agile philosophy is primarily based on empiricism, and has three components; TRANSPARENCY, INSPECTION, AND ADAPTATION.
- Transparency: Tasks pertaining a project need to be made visible and transparent to those responsible for its end product. Hereby ensuring that everyone has a clear understanding of their individual roles and responsibilities.
- Inspection: Scrum regularly inspect artifacts and progress toward a Sprint Goal to detect undesirable variances and provide opportunities to correct them.
- Adaptation: Adaptation would not be possible without transparency and inspection. It is only when a team practices transparency and inspection would they be able to know if a process needs to be adjusted or changed. Adaptation is done so that there would be a continuous improvement in the ways a team should work.
- The Sprint
- Sprint Planning
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
A Sprint is a working product Increment that is being developed. It is usually of duration two weeks or one month, and this duration remains constant for all the sprints in the project. We cannot have varying durations for the different sprints in a project. A new Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint.A Sprint should be cancelled if the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete. This might occur if the organization changes direction or if market or technology conditions change. A sprint can be cancelled only by product owner, though others have an influence on the same.
A Sprint Planning Meeting is a type of meeting where everyone including the Product Owner and the ScrumMaster is present. Here, the entire Scrum Team collaborates and discusses the high-priority work for Sprint and defines the Sprint goal. It accounts for the number of people present in the team, the amount of resources present, but mostly discusses what they tend to achieve from the end of the Sprint process.
Sprint planning involves the entire Scrum Team: the development team, product owner, and ScrumMaster.Sprint planning is limited to a maximum of eight hours. That means, team should timebox sprint planning to four hours for a two-week sprint and eight hours for a one-month sprint.
Sprint Planning focuses on the following two questions -
- What needs to be and can be delivered in the Sprint Increment?
- How will the work needed for the execution of Sprint be achieved?
The Development Team meets for 15 minutes (or less) every day of the Sprint to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal. They describe for each other how their own work is going, ask for help when needed.
During the meeting, each Team member explains -
- What did he do yesterday that helped the Team meet the Sprint Goal?
- What will he do today to help the Team meet the Sprint Goal?
- Does he see any impediments that prevent him or the Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?
The mandatory participants at the Daily Scrum are the development team. This meeting is also referred to as Daily Stand up Meeting.
Sprint reviews focus on the product being developed, specifically on the potentially shippable product increment created during the sprint. During a sprint review, the Scrum Team invites stakeholders to discuss what was completed during the Sprint.The general rule of thumb is to allow one hours for sprint review per every one week of sprint length. That means teams should timebox sprint review to two hours for a two-week sprint and four hours for a one-month sprint.
The Scrum Master ensures that -
- The meeting takes place.
- The participants understand the purpose.
- The meeting is focused on the required agenda and is completed within the required duration.
The Sprint Review includes the following aspects -
- Attendees include the Scrum Team and key stakeholders, as invited by the Product Owner.
- The Product Owner explains what Product Backlog items have been completed during the sprint and what has not been completed.
- The Team discusses what went well during the Sprint, what problems it ran into, and how those problems were solved.
- The Team demonstrates the work that it has completed and answers questions, if any, about the Increment.
- The entire group then discusses on what to do next. Thus, the Sprint Review provides valuable input to Sprint Planning of the subsequent Sprint.
- The Scrum Team then reviews the timeline, budget, potential capabilities, and marketplace for the next anticipated release of the product increment.
- The outcome of the Sprint Review is an updated Product Backlog, which defines the probable Product Backlog items for the next Sprint.
As the name suggests, Sprint Retrospective Meetings are held to reflect upon the previous Sprints about what went well and what could be improved in the last Sprint. This is one of the Scrum Event types that is more of a “lesson-learned” kind of meeting where the developers understand the areas that are supposed to work on and do not repeat their mistakes that they performed in the previous Sprints.Sprint retrospectives are for the Scrum Team, which would include the development team, ScrumMaster, and product owner.
The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to -
- Combine the learnings from the last Sprint, with regards to people, relationships, process, and tools.
- Identify the major items that went well and potential improvements.
- Creation of a plan for implementing improvements to increase product quality.
Sprint retrospectives are limited to a maximum of three hours. The general guidance is to allow 45 minutes for each week of sprint length. So a two-week sprint would cap the sprint retrospective at an hour and a half; a four-week sprint at three hours.
- Product Backlog
- Sprint Backlog
- Burn-Down Chart
- Product Backlog
The Product Backlog is an ordered list of everything that is known to be needed in a product. It is constantly evolving and is never complete.
- Sprint Backlog The Sprint Backlog is a list of everything that the team commits to achieve in a given Sprint. Once created, no one can add to the Sprint Backlog except the Development Team. If the Development Team needs to drop an item from the Sprint Backlog, they must negotiate it with the Product Owner. During this negotiation, the Scrum Master should work with the Development Team and Product Owner to try to find ways to create some smaller increment of an item rather than drop it altogether.
- Sprint Burn down Chart Sprint burn downs are a graphical way of showing how much work is remaining in the sprint, typically in terms of task hours. It is typically updated at the daily scrum. As the sprint progresses, the amount of work remaining should steadily decrease and should trend toward being complete on the last day of the sprint. Burn downs that show increasing work or few completed tasks are signals to the Scrum Master and the team that the sprint is not going well.
- Product IncrementThis is the product or the deliverable that is worked on and it is the product that is delivered to the end-user to test out and point out any defects that they want the development team to fix. At the end of a Sprint, the new Increment must be a working product, which means it must be in a useable condition. It must be in working condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to actually release it.
BENEFITS OF SCRUM
Organizations and Individuals that have adopted an agile framework like Scrum report the following benefits:
- Customer Satisfaction
The first and most important is getting delighted customers. In Scrum, sprints are really short so results are delivered and are ready for testing within 1-3 weeks. Scrum's main focus is to provide new features or corrections frequently, and collect feedback from clients as quick as possible. Therefore, Scrum speeds up bug fixing processes and the development of new features, making customers happy.
- Reduced cost
Given the high level of unpredictability and complexities in the business world, there is a need for a framework for delivering projects. Knowledge of Scrum helps organisations to set-up the right foundation and approach for effective project delivery. With the Scrum framework, organisations will avoid working haphazardly, thereby reducing cost.
- Enhanced communication among Teams
When constant communication and collaboration are not encouraged, people work in silos. Strained relationships among teams are caused by a breakdown in communication. Sadly, this can be frustrating and unproductive. Scrum encourages continual collaboration and communication among teams. As a result, the teams can achieve more and thus deliver better resultsthrough the following practices:
- Having the development team, the product owner, and the scrum master work closely together on a daily basis
- Conducting sprint planning meetings, allowing the development team to organize its work around informed business priorities
- Having daily scrum meetings where development team members organize around work completed, future work, and roadblocks
- Conducting sprint reviews, where the product owner outlines his prioritization decisions and the development team can demonstrate and discuss the product directly with stakeholders
- Conducting sprint retrospectives, allowing scrum team members to review past work and recommend better practices with every sprint
- Working in a collocated environment, allowing for instant communication and collaboration among development team members, the product owner, and the scrum master
- Making decisions by consensus
- Enhanced marketability:
The world is changing so fast. As a result, businesses all around the world adopt a framework that will help them deliver projects successfully. However, it is not enough to deliver projects. Customer and stakeholder satisfaction are equally important in all projects, no matter the project scale. Due to this fact, organisations look for people who have the requisite know-how of how to manage and deliver projects that will meet the expectation of customers. Scrum-certified professionals have the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to deliver successful projects. Consequently, Scrum-certified professionals are high on demand.
As a globally-recognised agile certification, Scrum increases your chances of getting employed in any part of the world.
- Reduced risk
Scrum helps mitigate the risk of absolute project failure — spending large amounts of time and money with no return on investment — by delivering tangible product early and forcing scrum teams to fail early if they’re going to fail
- Decreased time to market
Scrum has been proven to deliver value to the end customer 30 to 40 percent faster than traditional methods. This decrease in time is due to the following factors:
- Earlier initiation of development due to the fact the upfront documentation phases of waterfall projects (which typically take months) are foregone by having a dedicated product owner embedded within the scrum team to progressively elaborate requirements “just in time” and provide real-time clarification.
- Highest-priority requirements are separated from lower-priority items. Incrementally delivering value to the end customer means that the ¬highest-value and -risk requirements can be delivered before the lower-value and risk requirements. No need to wait until the entire project is complete before releasing anything into the market.
- Functionality is swarmed to completion each sprint. At the end of every sprint, scrum teams produce working product and service increments that are shippable.