Scrum is a simple framework for getting things done quickly and effectively.
It is a human solution to increasing productivity, effectiveness, quality, communication and team spirit, which developed out of the challenges faced in software development. However, Scrum can be used to enhance the performance any type of organisation; education, public or private sector, big or small business.
Scrum does not require any special software, tools, expensive certification, and because it is a simple framework it can be easily learnt and rolled out through an organisation in a relatively short period of time.
See our overview of the Scrum process to get a quick look into how it works.
The Product Owner is the single point of contact from the customer's side. The product Owner represents all stakeholder and is responsible for defining the vision and scope of the project.
The Product Owner owns the Product Backlog and as such is the only one that can prioritise the Product Backlog.
The Scrum Team is usually 3 to 8 people. Ideally the Scrum Team should be cross-functional and working in the same location (though distributed Scrum Teams are possible and can be very successful) The Scrum Team is responsible for estimating items on the Product Backlog, creating the Sprint Backlog, producing and delivering the items on the Sprint Backlog and presenting the completed work at the end of a Sprint (a period, typically 1 to 4 weeks in duration, in which the Team works on delivering the agreed upon features).
The Scrum Team is self organising and dedicated to continuous improvement.
The Scrum Master's is to facilitate the Scrum process and enforcer of Scrum principles. The Scrum Master has the responsibility to remove the Scrum Team's impediments and protect the Scrum Team from disruptions so the Scrum Team can focus on delivering the work they have committed to for the Sprint. The Scrum Master does not own the Sprint or the Scrum Team, the Scrum Master is the Scrum Team's champion ready to anything to ensure the Scrum Team can create, deliver, grow, succeed and have fun doing what they do best.
Read CoreWork's Scrum Master stories for further information on this role.
When we initally took our Scrum Master certification there was a discussion regarding the role of managers in Scrum. It looked as if the manager role would be added to Scrum to accommodate for the type of tasks typically reserved for a project leader. The manager removes impediments that the Scrum Team cannot solve themselves, ensures the Scrum team has the resources it needs to get the job done and motivates the Scrum Team to be more effective. This was actually included in the training material. Colleagues that have recently participated in Scrum Master certification course pointed out that the manager role was not mentioned as an offical Scrum role. Managers are still a bit part of most corporations, so how do manager figure in the picture? Take a look at the following Scrum Alliance article The Role of the Manager in Scrum which gives some great advice.
Release Planning is an activity mainly reserved for the Product Owner. The Product Owner collects a list of features that need to be delivered, prioritises the list and makes a decision as to when the features should be delivered. The Product Owner takes a meeting with the Scrum Team with the goal of giving a very high level estimate on each of the highest priority features, usually about enough for 2 or 3 Sprints. Once the Product Backlog is estimated, the Product Owner may review and adjust the priority of the items on the Product Backlog.
The outcome is a release plan based upon the Product Backlog.
At the start of each Sprint the Scrum Team and Product Owner meet to establish a goal for the Sprint, discuss the highest priority well defined items on the Product Backlog and to pull items from the Product Backlog onto the Sprint Backlog based upon the Scrum Teams known velocity.
The outcome is the Scrum Teams Sprint Backlog - a list of features the Scrum Team is committed to for the Sprint and a goal for the Sprint.
A daily meeting where Scrum Team members give a status to the Scrum Team as to what they did the day before, what they are going to do today and what issues are standing in their way.
A meeting held at the end of each Sprint where the Scrum Team demonstrates how they met the Sprint goal by delivering the features they committed to in the Sprint Backlog. The Scrum Team also looks back at the Sprint and discusses what the should keep doing, stop doing and things to try in the next Sprint.
A project's Product Backlog is, in its most basic form, a list of everything that needs to be done in order for the project to finished.
The Sprint Backlog is the Scrum Team's list of features they are committed to work on in the Sprint and is made up of the highest priority features pulled from the Product Backlog list.
The Burndown chart is a graphical representation of the Scrum Teams progress. It is updated daily after the Daily Scrum and is displayed openly so anyone can quickly determine how the Scrum Team is progressing.
A list of issues that is blocking or slowing the Scrum Team's progress. It is the Scrum Masters responsibility to remove the highest priority impediments from the Impediments Backlog and clear the way for the Scrum Team to succeed.