Scrum is an agile management framework that uses an adaptive approach, and focuses on team collaboration. Scrum was created to help resolve complex issues. It is the most frequently chosen framework to manage and develop IT projects. Organisations often deal with situations during the development process when a project’s scope, requirements, and goals change; scrum is designed to facilitate work within these changing environments. Using Scrum, a team is well prepared to embrace change, and use it to their advantage.
The Scrum framework was based on three pillars:
Teamwork is fundamental to working with Scrum. The scrum team is small (10 or less members) and cross-functional. This is vital to maintain seamless and fluent communication between team members, achieve better productivity, and help to identify present and future obstacles. Each member possesses the skills needed to provide value to the project. The Scrum team decides internally who should handle a particular part of work, what tools are required, and which work items should be prioritised. The team is responsible for making decisions, raising issues and proposing solutions.
Organisations often use “Scrum” and “agile” interchangeably. It is important to emphasise that they are distinct from each other.
Agile is a set of principles and values. By following the agile methodology, you apply a new mind-set that impacts all spheres within your organisation. This includes methods of communication, co-operation, and overcoming obstacles.
Scrum is based on agile principles, but it uses its elements (specific roles, events and artefact) to provide value. Additionally, Scrum is a significantly stricter process than agile. In the following paragraphs, we will present this process and explain its elements.
Scrum is a framework with a strictly prescribed process flow involving several roles, and defined events and artefacts. The primary goal of this framework is to facilitate and guide a team through the Scrum process.
Product Owner (PO) - The Product Owner represents stakeholders and is responsible for a product’s vision. The PO manages the Product Backlog by creating it, ordering it, and ensuring that all product backlog items (user stories) are visible and understood.
Scrum Master (SM) - The Scrum Master is a Scrum expert responsible for establishing a framework within an organisation. The SM helps their team to understand Scrum principles, and ensures that all events taking place during the Scrum process produce the expected benefits. The SM removes all blockers and bottlenecks that prevent the team from delivering value.
Development Team - This team produces the product. It includes developers, designers, testers and business analytics. The most significant responsibility of the Development Team is to be committed to the Sprint Goal, and to produce a specified outcome after each Sprint. They also plan the Sprint by estimating work items, and creating a Sprint Backlog.
Sprint – This is often described as the “beating heart of Scrum”. Sprints are fixed-length events (usually 1-4 weeks). A Sprint’s length depends on the amount of work that is needed to produce a work item. During each Sprint, a series of iterations are made. After each iteration, a section of the work items is delivered. All the work necessary to achieve the Product Goal including Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, take place within Sprints.
Sprint Planning – By choosing the work items from a Product Backlog and prioritising them, a Scrum Team can create a Sprint Backlog (which is the Sprint Planning outcome) which defines what should be delivered at the end of a Sprint. Each work item is estimated, depending on the amount of work that is needed to complete it.
Daily Scrum – A 15 minute meeting to coordinate work, and identify work blockers. During this meeting, each team member shares with the group what they did the previous day, and what they plan to do today.
Sprint Review – A meeting in which the Scrum team discusses what was achieved during the sprint. The Development Team presents Sprint results, and gathers feedback about the Team’s progress.
Sprint Retrospective - the team gathers to discuss what went well during the Sprint, and what changes are needed to improve future workflow. The goal is to identify possible improvements.
Product Backlog – a list of all functionalities and features that the Product Owner should provide. These elements should have a significant impact on achieving a greater ROI.
Sprint Backlog – a list of work items selected by the team during the Sprint Planning meeting. These elements are chosen to be delivered during the next Sprint.
Increment - The increment outcome is a usable end product from a Sprint that meets the criteria of “Definition of Done” established by the team (according to the team’s specifications, “Definition of Done” describes what goal has to be achieved to mark the work as done). Within the Sprint, there may be multiple increments.
We have described Scrum’s foundations, roles, events and artefacts. Now we will show you how it works step by step:
Using Scrum can provide significant value and help you to manage your projects.
However, like all methodologies, Scrum has its pros and cons. These should be considered before making the decision to use it.
To help you make this decision, we prepared a list of these pros and cons:
Scrum is an ideal choice if you need to manage a project without a fixed scope, and if you are working in a constantly changing environment. It also helps to manage large projects, and provides a step-by-step process.
At HeadChannel, we are always thinking about the customer’s needs first. Our team members possess vast knowledge of Scrum. We are supported by expertise provided by the Scrum Master, and we have earned Product Owner certificates. We have even delivered several Scrum projects ourselves. We have the experience and expertise needed to choose the methodology and framework to ensure the best results for our clients.